Courtesy Reuters

Most Americans consider the United States far ahead of Europe economically. Over the last 30 years, real per capita income (based on purchasing power parity) has consistently been 30 percent higher in the United States than in the 15 "western" countries of the European Union (the EU15). In the last decade, the U.S. economy has expanded much faster than that of the EU15, and demographic trends suggest that this disparity will continue.

The recent addition of ten eastern European countries (the EU10), however, offers the EU an opportunity to overcome several critical constraints on its economy. Meanwhile, the usually high productivity growth

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