Monday, October 1, 2012

America in free-fall?

The annual Economic Freedom of the World report,* including an index of country rankings, has just been released, and it should be a wake-up call. The United States was known as the bastion of economic freedom for more than two centuries, and it was because of its economic freedom that the nation became the pre-eminent economic power. However, in just a few short years, the U.S. has fallen from No. 3 in 2000 (behind the city-states of Hong Kong and Singapore) to No. 8 in 2005 and to No. 18 in 2010, the last year for which complete statistics are available. Worse yet, the U.S. decline continues, and in next year’s ranking, it is almost certain to be lower.

RAHN: America in free-fall - Washington Times: "During this election season, the U.S. should be having a national debate about what can be done to restore economic freedom. It is perhaps no surprise that the Obama administration has been silent on the issue, because many of its policies have caused the decline. But Mitt Romney also has had little to say about it. Economic freedom grew under President Reagan, and he made its decline under President Carter an issue in his campaign. Jack Kemp made his name in promoting economic freedom and growth, which resonated with the American people. It is hoped that this report, detailing the shockingly steep U.S. decline, will wake up the Romney campaign team and the mainstream media."

Wake up the Romney campaign? Too late for that--they're pretty much out of it.

*The main components of the index include the size of government (taxing and spending), legal systems, property rights, sound money, freedom to trade internationally, and regulation (including credit markets, labor and business regulations). The report says it “uses 42 different variables derived from sources such as the World Bank to measure the degree to which the institutions and policies of 144 countries are consistent with economic freedom.” It is published by the Cato Institute in the United States, the Fraser Institute in Canada and a network of institutes in 78 other countries. 

Read more: RAHN: America in free-fall - Washington Times

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