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The geographical disadvantage of the US is probably to blame for this. I don't think that there's a substantial number of rural poor in western Europe.

I don't think that there is any town in Germany that is not reachable by bus, and our inner cities have at least adequate public transit.

Apart from free health care, good public transit could turn some things in the US.

Agreed; I'm originally from the Netherlands myself, and the situation there is the same as in Germany. Over here in the US, it's a different story. If you live in a rural area (like I do) you really need a car, because there is no public transportation anywhere around.

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