Frugality, a lack of debt, and a government focused on high production, low inflation and extensive social services are the secrets to providing many Germans with a standard of living higher than Americans making twice as much.
Don Lee profiles a Germany whose economic strengths are based on principles that America once enjoyed, and seems largely to have lost.
"Germany's economy looks like that of the U.S. a generation ago. In 1975, manufacturing accounted for about 20% of the United States' economic output, or gross domestic product, about the same as in Germany today. Since then, U.S. manufacturing's share of GDP has slid to about 12%.
In 1975, the U.S. budget deficit was a manageable 1% of the economy, about the same as Germany's now. Last year, the U.S. deficit was about 10%.
American families in the 1970s and early '80s typically saved about 10% of their take-home pay, about the same as in Germany today. The U.S. savings rate these days is in the low single digits."