Why We Should Care About America's Fading Economic Freedom

EXPERT COMMENTARY

Why We Should Care About America's Fading Economic Freedom

By Antony Davies, James R. Harrigan |
Sep 26, 2012

The Fraser Institute's latest Economic Freedom of the World Annual Report is out, and the news is not good for the United States. Ranked among the five freest countries in the world from 1975 through 2002, the United States has since dropped to 18th place. The Fraser Institute bases this ranking on more than 40 variables measuring the size of government, legal system, security of property rights, access to sound money, freedom of trade, and regulation of markets. The United States, long the model of economic freedom for the rest of the world, now ranks below Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, Chile…and 13 other nations. When it comes to economic freedom, America is very clearly moving in the wrong direction.

Much of America's decline is due to the growth of the government's footprint in our lives since 2000. The assault on American property rights has not helped matters, either. The war on terror put American travelers under the thumb of the TSA—an entity that combines the charm of the DMV, the might of a paramilitary force, and the impropriety of a fraternity hazing. The Supreme Court's Kelo decision ushered in a rise in eminent domain abuses. And let's not forget the bailouts of those corporations that were "too big to fail." 

Taxpayers, on the other hand, were just the right size to fail, and that is what happened to them when the government took their money to pay off big, failing businesses.

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