Skip to comments.In Economic Freedom, Now We’re No. 12! : America slips for the seventh straight year
Posted on 01/14/2014 5:33:41 AM PST by SeekAndFind
The United States is on a steady skid downward. The latest milestone in Americas decline is especially demoralizing: The U.S. has slouched from among the worlds Top 10 freest economies. In fact, were No. 12 down two spots from No. 10 last year.
This bad news emerges from the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, released this morning by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal.
Now considered only a mostly free economy, the U.S. has earned the dubious distinction of having recorded one of the longest sustained declines in economic freedom, second only to Argentina, of any country in the [20-year] history of the Index, observe the reports editors, Ambassador Terry Miller, Anthony B. Kim, and Kim Holmes, Ph.D., all Heritage Foundation scholars. The U.S. is the only country to have recorded a loss of economic freedom each of the past seven years. This sad, maddening interval began in 2007 with Republican George W. Bushs reckless expenditures, brand-new regulations (including the unforgivable federal destruction of Thomas Edisons incandescent light bulb), and the post-crisis nationalization of American enterprises. This folly continues with President Obamas trillion-dollar annual deficits, his 24/7 red-tape factory, and the triumph of Obamacare, now blossoming in its entire splendor.
Its even worse than it appears: U.S. economic freedom has slid for seven years running.
Fully eleven countries now enjoy freer economies than Americas. They are:
The Most Free
1. Hong Kong
5. New Zealand
Estonia is No. 11, just ahead of the United States, and Bahrain is No. 13, just behind us. (Bahrains relatively high rank among the 178 nations in the Index reinforces that it measures economic freedom.)
Why is America so dull in an area where the Land of the Free should shine? Blame the ever-expanding state.
Substantial expansion in the size and scope of government, including through new and costly regulations in areas like finance and health care, has contributed significantly to the erosion of U.S. economic freedom, the Index states. The growth of government has been accompanied by increasing cronyism that has undermined the rule of law and perceptions of fairness. It also cites Obamacare as a culprit: Implementation of the health care law passed in 2010 has hit major snags and appears to be significantly hurting job creation and full-time employment.
The Index identifies aspects of the U.S. economy that sound downright Third World.
Protection of property rights has been uneven, raising charges of favoritism, the Index states. Beyond this and other strong winds of corruption, the predictability and professionalism one would expect in a serious country are becoming scarcer. The full effects of the onerous DoddFrank bill, passed three years ago, have yet to be felt. A backlog of ongoing rulemakings has prolonged business uncertainty, impeding economic growth. While many U.S businesses hate Dodd-Frank, they at least could try to endure it . . . if they only knew the rules. Instead, federal bureaucrats who often receive double the average private-sector American workers compensation drag their feet and miss one regulatory-publication deadline after another.
The U.S. actually is well below world norms on fiscal freedom, with a score of 65.8 points (out of 100), versus a global average of 77.3. Americas 48.1 points for government spending are an embarrassment, compared to the 62.7 global average. Washingtons high taxes, massive spending, and crippling national debt all uglify this picture.
The U.S. remains the worlds largest economy. Best Buy is full of low-cost high-definition TVs that are literally too big for many homes. And Americans are not on the brink of starvation not in the least!
This all matters because economic freedom puts money in peoples pockets.
The strongly positive relationship between economic freedom and prosperity is apparent throughout the world, the Index states. In every region, per capita incomes are much higher in countries that are economically free.
The figures are remarkable and highly persuasive. Among free economies, per capita GDP stands at $45,404. For mostly free nations, its $37,799. Among moderately free economies, per capita GDP plunges to $16,457. This craters to $5,541 in mostly unfree countries.
Paradoxically, this number actually ticked up to $6,231 among repressed economies.
Resource rich countries, whose economic freedom for ordinary people still remains repressed, generated a bit more per capita income due to oil and other commodity exports over the past years, Heritages Anthony Kim tells me from Hong Kong. Dictatorial, oil-rich Iran and Venezuela come to mind. However, he says, due to extreme wealth concentration in these resource-rich countries, these per capita income statistics need to be analyzed with caution.
People like Obama who obsess about income inequality should consider robust economic growth the best way to boost the fortunes of all, and especially for those with the least. Rather than redistribute what little is on hand, Americas business should be a constant effort to increase the winnings on the table, well before any effort to figure out whom, ultimately, gets what and the way to do that is to stay atop a measure like Heritages.
For all of Americas problems and humiliations, we can be thankful not to be among the bottom 10 nations in the Index:
The Least Free
169. Republic of Congo
172. Democratic Republic of Congo
178. North Korea
The United States of America remains far from this dungeon. Alas, year after year, we burrow inch by inch toward it.
Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News Contributor and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University.
And we will continue to drop another notch for every 90 days that the EPA is permitted to keep churning along without restraint.
No surprise that since the dems took over Congress in 2007, the downward trajectory has been clear and continual. Liberals are quite likely cheering this as they see their wealth-usurping agenda finally take hold. I’m sure they believe much work is yet to be done, if their goal of pulling us down to the level of Zimbabwe is to be achieved in their lifetimes.
That slow burrowing will become a much faster drilling operation after Comrade Rodham takes power in 2017.
How did that happen? We won the Cold War, didn't we?
Where’s the “Bring back American jobs now” guy?
RE: Wheres the Bring back American jobs now guy?
How can you bring America’s jobs back when the economy is getting less and less free?
Who’s going to want to start businesses or even hire under such conditions?
“Bring back American jobs now”.
Well hello there... I knew you’d show up sooner or later. :)
Bingo. Bureaucracies and bureaucrats are toxic to entrepreneurs and growth.
If disinterested third parties were so smart, they’d be interested first parties building businesses and making profit. I’m always amazed at calls for more regulation. Have these people ever met a regulator?
That's according to the Heritage world rankings. Let's get serious and look closer at this 'comparison':
Reality is that we rank #12 behind a bunch of duchies and principalities. Here's the Heritage list showing ranks of nations w/ pop's > 50M:
We're number 1 among the grown-ups.
Nam ended 40 years ago. Think of how WWII vets felt in '85 driving VW's and listening to their Sony radios.
Good numbers and good analysis, but I’d rather we have or be moving toward the economic liberty regime of Hong Kong as opposed to the UK, Germany, Japan, S. Korea, and Mexico.
The critical element here is liberty, not scale or population. Comparing us to European or Asian socialists and statists isn’t exciting. Mexico, despite all its crazy rules, has a very, very lax regulatory regime. It’s corruption and laziness are what get it its high scores.
It’s like being told you’re only losing an eye unnecessarily, look at those other guys losing an arm and a leg. No thank you.
Forgetting scale is no good, I hate hearing globalwarmers complaining about all that global warming on their front lawn. We don't compare Estonia and Mauritius to the U.S., we compare them to San Diego and San Antonio. We compare Australia and Canada to states like California and New York.
Just ask Rush, big difference between econ freedom in New York and Miami.
And O’Dork couldn’t care less.
Scale is only effective if what you’re measuring is measured correctly. What’s being measured is ‘economic freedom’ as defined by the Heritage Foundation. For that the scale is the amount of economic freedom, not the population, GDP or any other measure.
When you say, “we don’t compare Estonia and Mauritius to the U.S., we compare them to San Diego and San Antonio. We compare Australia and Canada to states like California and New York.” Those are comparisons of what exactly? Not economic freedom.
Given the above, I’d prefer an America more like Hong Kong than the United Kingdom.
On Warmists and scale we agree. Their opinions are off the scales and without proper scale.