You and I both know that over the last few years as Republican moderates have become more liberal and Democrats have become more powerful, that our nation is not as “free” as it once was. There are more laws, regulations and codes that we Americans have to be vigilant for, otherwise we risk being fined, jailed or both. A recent study undertaken by the American libertarian Cato Institute and the Canadian libertarian Frasier Institute, has found that what we anecdotally believed is completely true. The United States is indeed less economically free than it was as recently as ten years ago.
According to “The Economic Freedom of the World: 2013 Annual Report”, the United States of America now ranks 17th in the world in economic freedom. 17th!
We were ranked 2nd as recently as 2000.
What has been the cause of this precipitous decline?
“The answer starts and ends with a government that can’t say “no” to its urge to expand its role forever. Consequently, America’s ranking has fallen in all areas that the report measures. In size of government, it is ranked 59th out of 152 countries. Our legal system and security of property rights ranks 30th, while our freedom to trade internationally is 43rd. Worse, the U.S. is a true regulatory state, ranking 121st in credit market regulation and 33rd in business regulations.”
What may be most amazing about the rigorous standards applied by the Cato and Frasier Institutes is that, in almost every case, the less freedom an economy experiences, the worse that economy performs. Conversely, more economic freedom in a nation generally means that nation is a more enjoyable place to live. There is an obvious and profound connection between economic freedom and wealth, prosperity and quality of life.
Despite the obvious benefits of economic freedom, our nation continues to move inexorably in the wrong direction. “Unless policies undermining economic freedom are reversed,” say the report’s authors, James Gwartney, Robert Lawson and Josh Hall, “the future annual growth of the U.S. economy will be half its historic average of 3%.”
How can we stop this nasty shift towards economic slavery and the growth of the nanny state? We have to vote for new political leaders who will work to actually shrink big government by cutting taxes, undoing burdensome regulations, abolishing many government agencies, and drastically reducing government spending. There should be no “sacred cows” when it comes to spending… every section of the American government needs at least a “nip and a tuck”.
Economic freedom is the key to economic prosperity – remind your representatives of that.
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