For most of the past century, the U.S. and continental Europe have followed different paths. Social Democrats often ran European governments, which typically taxed and spent a greater share of their national incomes on social programs, such as public health care. The U.S. has been far more conservative.
America has long channeled the spirit of its industrious, fertile Pilgrim forebears by working long hours and having many children. Yet since 2006, the number of adult Americans who have never married has risen by more than 5 million. And since 2007, the number of employed Americans has fallen by 7 million. Is the economic slump turning America into Europe?