I’d also make the bold claim that middle class in these countries are probably better of than the US middle class, depending on what you think is important.
I wouldn’t disagree, but the question is how.
I have relatives in Sweden. My brother in law is retired. He has a shitty pension and depends on his wife to keep working. They live in a shitty apartment in a shitty part of town.
My nephews are blue collar guys. Well, one has kind of a low end sales job (some kind of insurance) and one drives a bus. They live in a shitty apartments in shitty parts of town. Their taxes are outasight high; when they come to the states, they come light and go back with a full load of new suitcases and “stuff” because stuff is so much cheaper here than it is there, after you add in the VAT.
Now, you can argue, if you want, that they are better off because they have health care paid for, and a raft of other social services in the Swedish safety net (which has been cut back over time, one must also point out).
But I’m not sure. On balance, I’d rather have more money in my pocket and flexibility to use it as I want.