Total spending (federal, state and local). Only 4 points difference Germany has a national VAT of 19% and will balance the budget in 2013. The VAT in the EU ranges from 15% in Luxembourg to 25% in Denmark and Sweden and 27% in Hungary. No member state is allowed to cut it below 15%. Revenue structure in the European Union (source: Eurostat): - 50% from taxes on labour - 33% from taxes on consumption - 16% from taxes on capital It seems that the "free stuff and tax the rich" propaganda is successful: according to recent polls, most Americans oppose spending cuts in social programs and defense and support tax hikes only for the top 2%. That's pretty illogical. You can go after the wealthy, create a tax rate of 75% for millionaires like France... but it will never be enough. Eventually, if you want a spending level of 35-40% of GDP, you have to increase taxes on everyone (or create new ones).