We're #12! The decline of economic freedom in America

A widely read study of economic freedom in the world has America ranked 12th out of 152 countries measured. As recently as 2000, we were 2nd.

The biggest reason for our decline has been a drift away from the rule of law.

Breitabart:

A new report of "economic freedom" around the world finds the US ranked 12th among 152 countries, tied with the United Kingdom, and lower than neighbor Canada or Australia. The index, published by the Cato Institute and Canada's Fraser Institute, has been published since 1996. As recently as 2000, the US ranked 2nd in the world, in terms of boasting a free economy. The US's declining ranking will lower future economic growth. 

The index, built on decades of research by Nobel laureates and dozens of leading scholars, measures 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 tradition 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 consequences of the collapse of the rule of law are only beginning to be seen. The whole psychology of the country will change as people realize that there are different rules for the elites and the plebes. Why obey the law if others don't have to? The resulting chaos will make the US unlivable.

It's tempting to blame it all on Obama, but this has been trending this way for decades. Other measures, including overregulation, defying congressional intent, and unilateral executive action, however, are directly the result of administration policies. Most of that is fixable. But once lost, the rule of law is very difficult to get back. Altering the leadership dynamic takes time and it's not certain that it can be done.

 

 

A widely read study of economic freedom in the world has America ranked 12th out of 152 countries measured. As recently as 2000, we were 2nd.

The biggest reason for our decline has been a drift away from the rule of law.

Breitabart:

A new report of "economic freedom" around the world finds the US ranked 12th among 152 countries, tied with the United Kingdom, and lower than neighbor Canada or Australia. The index, published by the Cato Institute and Canada's Fraser Institute, has been published since 1996. As recently as 2000, the US ranked 2nd in the world, in terms of boasting a free economy. The US's declining ranking will lower future economic growth. 

The index, built on decades of research by Nobel laureates and dozens of leading scholars, measures 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 tradition 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 consequences of the collapse of the rule of law are only beginning to be seen. The whole psychology of the country will change as people realize that there are different rules for the elites and the plebes. Why obey the law if others don't have to? The resulting chaos will make the US unlivable.

It's tempting to blame it all on Obama, but this has been trending this way for decades. Other measures, including overregulation, defying congressional intent, and unilateral executive action, however, are directly the result of administration policies. Most of that is fixable. But once lost, the rule of law is very difficult to get back. Altering the leadership dynamic takes time and it's not certain that it can be done.