And yet even with a "massive waste of human talent" the US leads the world in innovation, scientific achievement, per capita GDP (at least compared to countries that matter), military power (even in comparison to pretty much the rest of the world put together) etc etc. Why are there no European Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook. Do you realize that huge majority of the largest and best companies in the world are US based? Do you realize that 70 of the top 100 universities according to Times Education rankings are in the US? Just imagine what we could do if we didn't have that "massive waste of human talent".
Or perhaps the answer is that relative economic liberty that enables economic growth and innovation cannot be separated from inequality. You can choose one or the other.
Europe is rotten economically and politically to the point where a new wave of dictatorships and wars (a regular occurrence in that part of the world) is not unthinkable anymore and the reason for that is not unrelated to sacrificing liberty for the sake of equality i.e. sacrificing some people for the sake of others.