No amount of evidence can shake Norway's idea that it is the world's wealthiest country. In Oslo, library collections are woefully outdated, and public swimming pools are in desperate need of maintenance. News reports describe serious shortages of police officers and school supplies. When my mother-in-law went to an emergency room recently, the hospital was out of cough medicine. Drug addicts crowd downtown Oslo streets, but applicants for methadone programs are put on a months-long waiting list. In Norway, the standard line is that there must be some mistake, that such things simply should not happen in "the world's richest country." Why do Norwegians have such a wealthy self-image? Partly because, compared with their grandparents (who lived before the discovery of North Sea oil), they are rich. If the E.U. was treated as a single American state, it would rank fifth from the bottom. In short, while Scandinavians are constantly told how much better they have it than Americans, Timbro's statistics suggest otherwise.