The Demise of Economic Freedom in the USA?


Every year the Heritage Foundation releases a report ranking the overall economic freedom of every nation on the planet.

What is economic freedom?

Economic freedom is the fundamental right of every human to control his or her own labor and property. In an economically free society, individuals are free to work, produce, consume, and invest in any way they please.

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In economically free societies, governments allow labor, capital, and goods to move freely, and refrain from coercion or constraint of liberty beyond the extent necessary to protect and maintain liberty itself.

The Heritage Foundation has found that countries which score high on the economic freedom index not only enjoy higher levels of financial prosperity, people in these free societies live longer, have better health, are better educated, and surprisingly are better protectors of the environment.

While the world has become demonstrably more economically free in recent years, that trend is not one that we can see in many of our Western (so called “advanced”) democracies.

Sadly, the most glaring problem with this year’s list is that the United States has continued its recent pattern of falling further and further down the list. In fact, the USA has become measurably less free over the last year!

The USA has actually fallen from the 6th place position we enjoyed when president Obama first took office, to 11th place in the latest index measurement. The culprit behind our demise has been rapidly increasing government spending, huge bailouts and ever increasing subsidies that wreak havoc on the free market.

Economic Freedom Ranking

The data also shows that the five freest economies in each region are significantly more prosperous than the least free. The countries that score highest unsurprisingly also score higher in three other important areas: income per capita, social progress and democratic governance.

From the Heritage Foundation:

This index is important because, as the data shows, a nation’s well being is inextricably tied to their economic freedom. The more free a nation’s economy, the greater prosperity that nation enjoys. Conversely, the less free the economy, the greater the chances are that life in that nation grows more difficult by the day. If we want to turn around our recent spate of self-destructive policies that are destroying our own interests and driving our economy over the brink… we must elect conservative leaders who will deregulate the market, end federal subsidies and stop bailing out failed businesses.

If we continue down the path that President Obama (and to a lesser extent George W. Bush) have placed us on, we will continue to see our prosperity undercut and our freedoms eroded.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

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