Why I Want To Move to The U.S.

A little while ago my wife was expressing to an American friend her desire to return home to the US. My wife’s friend was puzzled. She understood why my wife would wish to be nearer family, but asked “why on Earth would Q want to move to the US?”

The notion that Europe is the most desirable place to live is widespread. Japan recognizes a psychological disorder called ‘Paris syndrome’. Believing that Europe is the most sophisticated continent, that France, especially Paris, is the embodiment of this, Japanese tourists arrive with high expectations. On arrival in Paris they discover that Parisians hate everyone, especially foreigners, but not excluding themselves. The disillusionment and depression can be so severe that, several times a year, a Japanese tourist has to be flown home for psychological treatment.

Yes, in Britain, healthcare is ‘free’, but when you are sick or in pain, do you really want to stand in line to be treated with the customer service values of the DMV? And it doesn’t seem ‘free’ when you are paying income tax and FICA rates of 51%.

Students in Britain are rioting because the government cap on college tuition is being raised. The maximum students will have to pay under the new rates is £9,000 (about $14,000) a year. But these low rates mean that British universities – some of which are among the best in the world – are starved of cash, and have no wish to take British students. Foreign students, who pay more, are much preferred. Meanwhile British students almost never study overseas, with all the educational benefits that that can bring. Who on Earth would go to Harvard if Cambridge University only costs $14,000 a year? Perhaps because of this captive (but unprofitable) home market, British universities in general are not as good as those in the US.

Of course, there are many historical wonders to see in Britain, but they do not compare with the natural wonders of the US.

Some of Britain’s contributions to global civilization – representative government, the presumption of innocence, the Common Law, the separation of powers – have been hugely important, but have mostly reached their strongest expression in American governance, not British.

Americans may love our accents, but it does not mean that British people are as friendly or as polite as Americans. London has more theaters than New York, but locals, in both cities, hardly ever go. It is visitors who fall in love with them. In any case, neither London nor New York is representative of the country as a whole.

Business is more dynamic, more enterprising in the US, and taxed at lower rates. The US economy creates far more jobs than other countries. Standards of customer service are enormously higher than anywhere else. The result is that the contrast between a responsive private sector and surly government workers is probably higher than elsewhere, but government is no worse in America than anywhere else, and may be rather more accountable. Wikileaks suggest that the State Department is generally thorough and well informed. It is America’s allies who have been most embarrassed by the revelations, especially the appalling Gulf monarchies.

Overall, there is nowhere as free, as dynamic or as exciting as the US. Britain has always been my home, but some day you have to leave home.

Article provided by Quentin Langley
Lecturer in PR and Political Communications,
School of Journalism, Cardiff University

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