I'm not saying the authors of this study don't have an ax to grind, but the empirical findings are quite a wake up call. The study released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives compares the social costs and benefits of taxation in low and high tax countries around the world.
"...Americans bear incredibly severe social costs for living in one of the lowest taxed countries in the world. For a strikingly large number of social indicators, the United States ranks not only near the bottom of the 19 industrialized countries, but it ranks as the most dysfunctional country by a considerable margin: Poverty is widespread. A greater percentage of Americans, and in particular children and the elderly, live in poverty in the United States than in any other industrialized country in the world.
• The income of vulnerable citizens, such as the elderly and those with disabilities, is much lower compared to others in the United States than almost all other industrialized countries.
• Living conditions are shockingly unequal. By any measure, income is distributed more unequally in the United States than in every other industrialized country. In 2004, America’s richest 1% held more of the nation’s wealth than the bottom 90% (34.7% versus 29.9%).
• Ordinary workers in the United States have less economic security than workers in any other industrialized country ."
The full report is here.