The 2014 Economic Index is out, and it does not look good for us. The index has the United States ranked as number 12 out of the 152 countries measured. This means that we have dropped 10 places since 2000 since we stopped following the rule of law. According to the index, the United States is on the level of the United Kingdom and ranks lower than Canada and Australia. The index has measured economic freedom since 1996.
“The foundations of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, and open markets. As Adam Smith, Milton Friedman, and Friedrich Hayek have stressed, freedom of exchange and market coordination provide the fuel for economic progress. Without exchange and entrepreneurial activity coordinated through markets, modern living standards would be impossible.
“Potentially advantageous exchanges do not always occur. Their realization is dependent on the presence of sound money, rule of law, and security of property rights, among other factors. Economic Freedom of the World seeks to measure the consistency of the institutions and policies of various countries with voluntary exchange and the other dimensions of economic freedom. The report is co-published by the Cato Institute, the Fraser Institute in Canada, and more than 70 think tanks around the world.”
Breitbart reported: “The index, built on decades of research by Nobel laureates and dozens of leading scholars, measure 5 broad factors that impact the economy: 1. Size of government; 2. Legal structure and security of property rights; 3. Access to sound money; 4. Freedom to trade internationally, and (5) Regulation of Credit, Labor and Business. Countries where citizens are freer to engage in business and trade and property and legal rights are protected by the rule of law will score higher on the index. According to economic research, though, these countries will also do better economically and create and generate more wealth.
“The 10 freest economies in the world are: Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, Mauritius, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Australia, Jordan, and Chile and Finland tied for 10th.
“America’s descent down the ladder of economic freedom is unsettling, in itself. More troubling, however, is the chief factor behind the US decline. The biggest drop in US economic freedom has been in the country’s legal structure. The report notes that, `increased use of eminent domain to transfer property to powerful political interests, the ramifications of the wars on terrorism and drugs, and the violation of the property rights of bondholders in the auto-bailout case have weakened the traditions of strong adherence to the rule of law in United States.’
“The rule of law has long been the foundation of America’s economic prosperity and liberty. The US ranking in this area has plummeted to a terrible 36th place in the world. This, combined with increased regulation is stifling US economic growth. The report observes, `[t]o a large degree, the United States has experienced a significant move away from rule of law and toward a highly regulated, politicized, and heavily policed state.’
“The report estimates the cost of the decline of economic freedom in the US. On current trends, future economic growth will be half the historic average of a 3% yearly gain. The past few years have schooled us on the impact low growth has on the labor market and economic outlook.
“This latest report is a sobering look at the scale of challenges facing the US. Curtailing government’s leviathan isn’t simply solving a math problem, i.e. getting revenue and spending figures for government to balance. A far larger threat is the accumulation of thousands of rules and regulations that not only stifle innovation but also undermine our personal and property rights.
“A balanced federal budget is insignificant and meaningless if the rule of law has been subverted. No single election ore administration can repair that damage. That is a task that must be tackled by a generation.”
The index confirms everything thinking Americans have known. It shows that there is no “recovery” in the United States. We are losing freedom every year until we start doing something to stop the decline. The first thing we can do is to elect Republicans and put some binders on Barack Obama! Vote Republican on November 4, 2014!