Come and live in England and say that - your in for one massive shock. The US is so cheap to us Brits it actually makes us cringe. You can buy a house in Arizona for $200,000 - approx. £110,000 at the moment over here
Where I live in the South East of England, you can't buy a garage for that!!!! Most 3 bed houses cost around £250-£300,000 - $540,000!!!!!!! and everything here follows suit.
Our restaurants cost a bomb (without tips!!), our hotels do, our petrol - well that's another story - if petrol/fuel costs a lot, then all road haulage costs go up as well, so all in all, your Americans live a quality life very cheaply indeed to many countries.
Be grateful - you have a wonderful country and that is why we like to holiday there.
We do have a bit of an issue with tipping on board ship as we truly believe, your pay for good service and not bad. If our steward does well, then we would tip more than is customary. However, if he/she does the mandatory bit and shows no pleasure acting as if 'my god, another day's work' then I would expect to pay less.
In life, you get what you deserve and as we all know, if you work hard, you can earn alot more than those who just 'cruise along' - excuse the pun!!!!!
Another angle from another point of view.
Maureen, Windsor, England