Feeling a Little Less Free?
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it is true. The 2010 Index of Economic Freedom, released by The Heritage Foundation, provided shocking revelations, particularly about the U.S. The Heritage Foundation explains the Index on their website:
"We measure ten components of economic freedom, assigning a grade in each using a scale from 0 to 100, where 100 represents the maximum freedom. The ten component scores are then averaged to give an overall economic freedom score for each country. The ten components of economic freedom are: Business Freedom, Trade Freedom, Fiscal Freedom, Government Spending, Monetary Freedom, Investment Freedom, Financial Freedom, Property Rights, Freedom from Corruption, and Labor Freedom."
The Wall Street Journal just posted an article on Wednesday discussing the results of the Index. The United States is slipping downward on the scale; away from freedom. For the first time ever, the U.S. is no longer listed as "Free", we are now considered "Mostly Free."
"This year, of the world's 20 largest economies, the U.S. suffered the largest drop in overall economic freedom.:
The categories where the U.S. experienced the largest drops were in financial freedom, monetary freedom and property rights. How did that happen? I think we all know...
"Driving it all were the federal government's interventionist responses to the financial and economic crises of the last two years, which have included politically influenced regulatory changes, protectionist trade restrictions, massive stimulus spending and bailouts of financial and automotive firms deemed 'too big to fail.' "
The seven countries listed as freer than the U.S. are, in ranking order: Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Switzerland and Canada.
Wait, wait... CANADA?!
Yep, that is not a typo; Canada is now the freest country in the Americas. It is important to note that the countries who have moved up, or stayed up, on the Index are faring comparatively better than the nations which are restricting liberties.
"Citizens of economically freer countries enjoy much higher per-capita incomes on average than those who live in less free economies. Economic freedom also has positive impacts on overall quality of life, political and social conditions, and even on protection of the environment. Perhaps of most significance in these hard times, Index data indicate that freer economies do a much better job of reducing poverty than more highly regulated economies."
I wonder how much flights are to Hong Kong...