Due in large part to an explosion of government spending and less secure property rights, the United States plunged to its lowest ever ranking on the Economic Freedom of the World report, dropping from second place out of 144 nations in 2000 to a humiliating 18th in this year’s annual survey. The global average scores, meanwhile, actually increased slightly.
The study, conducted by the respected Canada-based Fraser Institute, measures more than 40 different variables related to economic freedom. Those are divided into five broad categories: size of government, legal system and security of property rights, access to sound money, freedom to trade internationally, and regulation of credit, labor, and business.
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“The United States, like many nations, embraced heavy-handed regulation and extensive over-spending in response to the global recession and debt crises,” observed Fred McMahon, Fraser Institute vice-president of international policy research. “Consequently, its level of economic freedom has dropped.” And it is getting worse, fast.
According to the survey, the United States scored 6.43 out of 10 in terms of the size of government — slightly lower than Syria, ruled by socialist tyrant Bashir al-Assad. The steepest decline was in the protection of private property rights, which analysts attributed to increasing reliance on eminent domain, the expansion of the terror and drug wars, as well as an uncertain business environment sparked by lawless government bailouts and breeched contracts. Overall the United States scored 7.69 out of 10
“I think we think of the underlying causes of our decline in legal system and property rights, the Supreme Court’s Kelo decision, the war on terror, and things related to the rule of law — things like TARP and the bailouts — have all contributed to the decline of scores in areas one and two,” explained one of the report’s authors, Beloit College economics Professor Joshua Hall. “We need people to understand our long term living standards depend upon getting back to that economic freedom that we enjoyed just a decade ago.”
Read more at The New American. By Alex Newman.