Sadly No flags this rather idiotic London Times article (picked up by the Daily Mail and recently posted by Drudge) that claims that the UK is surpassing the US in living standards. Although I agree with SN's sentiment, this was among the stupider things published in a newspaper in recent times.
The supposed shift in "living standards" is actually an artifact of the dollar's depreciation. The article admits this, which just makes it even stupider. Think about it: The dollar has fallen about 25% against the pound since 2000. Do you feel 25% poorer than you were eight years ago? Swings in exchange rates are only marginally related to living standards.
Suppose the dollar fell 50%. Imports make up less than 15% of what we buy. Holding all other things equal and assuming that in response import prices rose by 50% (they wouldn't: we'd switch from imports to domestic goods and foreign companies would cut their prices to stay in the US market), our standard of living would fall about 7%. A 25% dollar drop would cause a 3.5% fall in living standards. And with the actual behavior of import prices, the fall would in fact be a lot less than 3.5%.
No, the right way to do this sort of thing is to strip out the effect of exchange rates by converting pounds to dollars using purchasing power parity (PPP). Wikipedia has a nice chart which shows that, according to IMF data, in 2006 the UK's GDP per capita was about 22% lower than ours and that number hasn't changed much since then. (Although, just because they're poorer, doesn't mean they don't have lots of rich people to ruin London.)
Of course, if you really want to measure living standards -- taking into account the potential leisure as well as the potential consumption that an economy generates -- then you'd look at the value of what we produce per hour of labor (a.k.a the level of labor productivity, a.k.a. GDP per hour worked). Here the UK lags behind us by 18%.
In France, on the other hand, the level of labor productivity is 2.5% higher than it is here. Which makes it puzzling why Obama's economics guru closed his recent New York Times commentary about American productivity with the following apropos-of-nothing quip: "The world economy may be tough on your industry but look on the bright side: you could be French."
Under President Obama, we'll be eating freedom fries - but with such idealism!