Free Markets, Free People

US drops out of top 10 for economic freedom

I’m not sure that this will surprise anyone, given the size and intrusiveness of our government:

World economic freedom has reached record levels, according to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, released Tuesday by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. But after seven straight years of decline, the U.S. has dropped out of the top 10 most economically free countries.

For 20 years, the index has measured a nation’s commitment to free enterprise on a scale of 0 to 100 by evaluating 10 categories, including fiscal soundness, government size and property rights. These commitments have powerful effects: Countries achieving higher levels of economic freedom consistently and measurably outperform others in economic growth, long-term prosperity and social progress. Botswana, for example, has made gains through low tax rates and political stability.

Obviously the decline began before the Obama administration, but the policies of this administration have certainly hastened the decline and are certainly a primary reason for the US dropping out of the top 10:

Those losing freedom, on the other hand, risk economic stagnation, high unemployment and deteriorating social conditions. For instance, heavy-handed government intervention in Brazil’s economy continues to limit mobility and fuel a sense of injustice.

It’s not hard to see why the U.S. is losing ground. Even marginal tax rates exceeding 43% cannot finance runaway government spending, which has caused the national debt to skyrocket. The Obama administration continues to shackle entire sectors of the economy with regulation, including health care, finance and energy. The intervention impedes both personal freedom and national prosperity.

And that’s certainly been the case these past 5 years.  Regulation has exploded, government intrusiveness has increased, freedom is in retreat.

Bottom line:

Despite financial crises and recessions, the global economy has expanded by nearly 70% in 20 years, to $54 trillion in 2012 from $32 trillion in 1993. Hundreds of millions of people have left grinding poverty behind as their economies have become freer. But it is an appalling, avoidable human tragedy how many of the world’s peoples remain unfree—and poor.

The record of increasing economic freedom elsewhere makes it inexcusable that a country like the U.S. continues to pursue policies antithetical to its own growth, while wielding its influence to encourage other countries to chart the same disastrous course. The 2014 Index of Economic Freedom documents a world-wide race to enhance economic opportunity through greater freedom—and this year’s index demonstrates that the U.S. needs a drastic change in direction.

Drastic action needed, dithering and inaction expected, continued decline the result.


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11 Responses to US drops out of top 10 for economic freedom

  • “Good and necessary.”

    • A good part of this plunge can be attributed to Obama’s “deft” handling of economic matters, including indirect influences.
      Fast and Furious, Benghazi, IRS, media suppression, Unaffordable Care Act “glitches”–these will all be footnotes. His real legacy will be his persistent and largely successful acts of scuttling America.

      • This has been going on since the Sherman Anti-Trust act over 120 years ago.

        • Imho, a little anti-trust is a good thing.  But people don’t understand a little might be the optimum.  “More is better”, I have to say is a defective principle that permeates almost everything today from food to politics.     Ironically anti-trust itself is pretty much ignored today.  The nail in the coffin was under Clinton to help keep the 90’s stock market bubble bubbled.

  • “…and if Congress doesn’t go along with what I think is right for this country I have a pen to write executive orders…”
    No doubt remains, the Republic is circling the drain, the Tree of Liberty is parched.
    If not us? Who?
    If not now? When?

  • Good Lord .. beaten by Estonia, one of those former “captive nations”

  • Our friends and neighbors that voted this clusterf($k situation into existence over the past 90 years need a serious wakeup call…right upside the head or in the crotch.

  • If not for the fracking miracle, our economy would be showing more faithfully the poisonous effects of Obama’s war on America.

    • And since his mission is to destroy it, there was never any danger that what he was doing would actually fix it.
      However, imagine a government that got out of the way rather than one that is keen on getting a camel’s nose under every last tent flap.

      • However, imagine a government that got out of the way

        Yeah.  Like the one the Constitution charters