The title definitely roped me in, Why We Spend, Why They Save. But the explanation is thoroughly unsatisfying, the author just lays all the blame/credit at the hands of the government. Though I don't doubt that government plays a roll in the savings/spending debate but he doesn't even offer another single explanation. What about the fact that its much more difficult to buy a house or get a mortgage in Europe? That's the biggest source of debt for most people and many young Europeans live at home or rent because its basically impossible to afford housing in the big cities. The demographics in Europe (higher ratio of old to young people) also favor savings. The author portraits Americans as materialistic, debt addicted and in need of government to save us from ourselves. Give me a break.
The one thing I did learn from this article is that I should stop reading op-eds.