Womp, womp: The U.S. loses ground in economic freedom, again

posted at 4:01 pm on January 10, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

The Wall Street Journal and the Heritage Foundation have released their annual Index of Economic Freedom for 2013, and bad news, friends: More top-down regulations, more federal intrusion, expanded deficit spending, and heightened rent-seeking are in fact not conditions conducive to economic freedom. Based on measures relating to the rule of law, limited government, regulatory efficiency, and open markets, the United States came in tenth place, following Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Chile, Mauritius, and Denmark. The least-free countries were Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Cuba, and North Korea in dead last.

Registering a loss of economic freedom for the fifth consecutive year, the U.S. has recorded its lowest Index score since 2000. Dynamic entrepreneurial growth is stifled by ever-more-bloated government and a trend toward cronyism that erodes the rule of law. More than three years after the end of recession in June 2009, the U.S. continues to suffer from policy choices that have led to the slowest recovery in 70 years. Businesses remain in a holding pattern, and unemployment is close to 8 percent. Prospects for greater fiscal freedom are uncertain due to the scheduled expiration of previous cuts in income and payroll taxes and the imposition of new taxes associated with the 2010 health care law. …

Under Democratic President Barack Obama, the federal system of government, designed to reserve significant powers to the state and local levels, has been strained by the national government’s rapid expansion. Spending at the national level rose to over 25 percent of GDP in 2010, and gross public debt surpassed 100 percent of GDP in 2011.

Not all of the global findings are completely terrible, but the general outlook isn’t really uplifting, either:

“The global advance toward economic freedom has ground to a halt,” according to the editors of the 19th annual Index of Economic Freedom, released today by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal.

The world average score of 59.6 was only one-tenth of a point above the 2012 average. Since reaching a global peak in 2008, the editors note, economic freedom has continued to stagnate. The overall trend for last year, however, was positive: Among the 177 countries ranked in the 2013 Index, scores improved for 91 countries and declined for 78.

Is the relationship between all of this exponential growth in bureaucracy and state spending, and the subsequent retraction from robust economic growth, really such a mystery for some people? In a nutshell, more economic freedom leads to more economic growth, a simple point George Will sums up perfectly:

By rescuing almost everyone from restoration of Clinton-era rates, liberals abandoned any pretense of paying for their program of ever-expanding entitlements.

Instead, they made trillion-dollar deficits their program. From 1950 to 2000, economic growth averaged 3.6%; since then it has averaged less than 2%.

Liberals think today’s correlation between the slow economic growth and rapid governmental growth — including under George W. Bush — is a coincidence. Conservatives do not.

But of course, we’ve just voted ourselves another term of more of the same piling-on of big-government spending and bureaucracy, and the global trend is following much the same pattern, so… anybody getting excited for more self-imposed stagnation?


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How about an executive order declaring this to be untrue?

Flange on January 10, 2013 at 4:05 PM

freedom is one of bush’s failed policies that lord Obama is moving forward away from

thank you 50.8 %ers. you reprobate ignoramuses. may your chains weigh heavy and your food spoil in your foul mouths.

tom daschle concerned on January 10, 2013 at 4:05 PM

Jesus Christ, someone make this stop already!

GhoulAid on January 10, 2013 at 4:05 PM

Womp, womp: The U.S. loses ground in economic freedom, again

And freedom in general – thanks to you Oppressives.

Southern by choice22 on January 10, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Come on Erika, it’s nothing a few trillion dollar coins couldn’t solve.

gsherin on January 10, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Bah, economic freedom is so overrated.

Jesus Christ, someone make this stop already!

Nope. Not gonna happen. At least peacefully, I’m thinkin’.

hawkeye54 on January 10, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Zero’s approval rating is skyrocketing. No one gives a shit.

Rational Thought on January 10, 2013 at 4:13 PM

Betcha they didn’t measure fairness though.

They should play Sousa’s Fairest of The Fair at the Inauguration. After all, that’s one of his major themes.

Drained Brain on January 10, 2013 at 4:13 PM

First look at Chile? If the dollar —> Chilean peso conversion is good you might see people fleeing there in about 10 years.

visions on January 10, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Brayam your thoughts?

/

Pathetic.

CW on January 10, 2013 at 4:17 PM

Leftists don’t realize (or care) that without economic liberty no other liberties can exist. We’re going the wrong direction.

visions on January 10, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Drained Brain on January 10, 2013 at 4:13 PM

Fairest. that fits this tool perfectly. did you ever imagine such an effeminine joke would have such power in the USA?!?

GhoulAid on January 10, 2013 at 4:18 PM

freedom is one of bush’s failed policies that lord Obama is moving forward away from

thank you 50.8 %ers. you reprobate ignoramuses. may your chains weigh heavy and your food spoil in your foul mouths.

tom daschle concerned on January 10, 2013 at 4:05 PM

Nothing makes me happier than seeing the suffering of the parasites who voted for Obama, i.e. the majority of his voters… It is true that his destructive socialism is hurting the country and all of us but no one is more hurt and will continue so than those lazy f***ing parasites who voted for him…

mnjg on January 10, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Wow, I’d be really worried about this but fortunately, the GOPe strategery is coming into focus:

http://washingtonexaminer.com/morning-examiner-conservative-debt-limit-strategy-coming-into-focus/article/2518119?custom_click=rss#.UO7Qnrb2E0E

Brilliant! Play ‘small ball’ for the next four years and if we are really lucky we might get some conservative agenda items addressed in 2017 and later!!!!!

/sarc

Meanwhile, the TBTF banks have been given another “get out of jail free” pass this week by the Federal Reserve et al.

I guess I missed the scathing article one of the Hot Air editors posted about that latest bit of crony capitalism.

Ah well, living in an ADHD world, I guess it is not reasonable to expect anyone to be able to focus on anything but …

SQUIRREL !!!

PolAgnostic on January 10, 2013 at 4:22 PM

OH me thinks this is JUST only the beginning for bho! That forked tongue lying devils spawn bho WILL not be happy till he gets all his ‘dreams from his father’? Total crater of the US and a one world government? Think I’m kidding, just see what bho has managed in the last four years, with the help from dc! The next four will be nothing I would have ever imagined in my 68 years here in my beloved Republic!
L

letget on January 10, 2013 at 4:24 PM

Nothing a few shiny new coins won’t fix.

Don’t worry so much, we have the world’s preeminent retards working on our behalf, Barky on the economic front and The Groping Pervert F**kwit on the personal freedom side of things.

Bishop on January 10, 2013 at 4:24 PM

The msm and the commie Democrats can not support the weight of the lies if we inform the general public of the facts.

http://www.wattsupwiththat.com

The lie is comming undone, help it along, spread the word.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on January 10, 2013 at 4:24 PM

It’s a FEATURE, not a BUG.

Pelosi delende est on January 10, 2013 at 4:25 PM

Eh, freedom’s overrated anyway. I’d much rather have the peanut butter spread thinly. I may not be happy, but I’m satisfied knowing nobody else is either…

Said no honest capitalist ever.

Rufus on January 10, 2013 at 4:25 PM

Start weighing your options. There may be parts of each of the 9 countries ranking above us that you might not like; however, worth the move. Denmark, Australia, New Zealand all have nice climates and extremely hot women-folk.

What is even more sad is that Sweden -SWEDEN – is pumping out rhetoric that is more conservative than the US. Such statments like, “when Swedish families keep more of their money, everyone is better off.” That is 100% the opposite of where the US is going right now. Plus, jag kan prata svenska.

antisense on January 10, 2013 at 4:26 PM

Brayam your thoughts?

/

Pathetic.

CW on January 10, 2013 at 4:17 PM

Yes the communist scum bayam will come and tell us that we need to shut up because the “Rich Liberals” love socialism… Of course he will never mention that these same rich liberals who preach higher taxes and advocate the so called income equality are the most ruthless money worshippers and hypocrites on the face of the planet… They will find evey way under the sun to expend their profits by using slave labor in China and India (Apple and Microsoft), stealing other people ideas (Facebook), finding tax shelters to avoid paying more taxes (all of them and take Google as the last example), suing the IRS to pay less taxes (Warren Buffer company) and each one of them on the personal level use every loophole under the sun to pay less in taxes…

mnjg on January 10, 2013 at 4:28 PM

Buffer = Buffet

mnjg on January 10, 2013 at 4:29 PM

Zero’s approval rating is skyrocketing. No one gives a shit.

Rational Thought on January 10, 2013 at 4:13 PM

Socialism and giving your hard decisions away to the government is a very alluring idea to people who have been weaned on liberal education, MTV and “feelings above all else”.

It’s painful to think that it will have to get much worse before it gets better. Might have to learn how Eastern Europe/Soviets learned.

kim roy on January 10, 2013 at 4:31 PM

What is even more sad is that Sweden -SWEDEN – is pumping out rhetoric that is more conservative than the US. Such statments like, “when Swedish families keep more of their money, everyone is better off.” That is 100% the opposite of where the US is going right now. Plus, jag kan prata svenska.

antisense on January 10, 2013 at 4:26 PM

I’m born in Hungary and my parents fled the communism so we landed in Sweden where I grew up. I always hated socialism because it truly is the gateway drug to communism. During the Olof Palme years in the 80′s I’ve had enough and emigrated to the US. What a great place California was in the mid 80′s *sigh*.

Then the dark clouds started forming on the horizon and I, once again, find myself surronded by a bunch of nanny state socialists.

Except now there’s nowhere else to go…

NapaConservative on January 10, 2013 at 4:36 PM

Ecuador if you feel like you need to leave.

Bishop on January 10, 2013 at 4:40 PM

I’m born in Hungary and my parents fled the communism so we landed in Sweden where I grew up. I always hated socialism because it truly is the gateway drug to communism. During the Olof Palme years in the 80′s I’ve had enough and emigrated to the US. What a great place California was in the mid 80′s *sigh*.

Then the dark clouds started forming on the horizon and I, once again, find myself surronded by a bunch of nanny state socialists.

Except now there’s nowhere else to go…

NapaConservative on January 10, 2013 at 4:36 PM

Communism is the violent aspect of socialism… When socialists run out of producers money they will have two options:

1. Quit and run away…

or

2. Use violence to remain in power, cease by force all the assets of the producers, take people freedom away, all types of freedom, kill and jail your opposition… This is when socialism turn into communism…

mnjg on January 10, 2013 at 4:41 PM

NapaConservative.

Run to us here in Texas.

1,000′s of your betters have joined prior.

Do it while you still have equity in your home to use to buy your way out of the sinking ship Calif..

APACHEWHOKNOWS on January 10, 2013 at 4:46 PM

How many in the top 10 have “communist” healthcare? Eat dirt wingnuts! You call half those countries communist already!

If anything Obama has brought more economic freedom.

lester on January 10, 2013 at 4:49 PM

Here’s how green laws by CA, led by a guy with a fake degree in science, destroy businesses:

Duraflame Loses Suit

PattyJ on January 10, 2013 at 4:52 PM

Obama/Biden divert this Obamatimes dire reality with “guns, bla, bla, bla…” and lester cheers.

Obama is set to destroy the middle class. He already hates the poor.

Here is something to digest. May all the hypocrites spontaneously combust.

Schadenfreude on January 10, 2013 at 4:54 PM

How many in the top 10 have “communist” healthcare? Eat dirt wingnuts! You call half those countries communist already!

If anything Obama has brought more economic freedom.

lester on January 10, 2013 at 4:49 PM

Communist scum… If the parasites President Obama brought more economic freedom then why did the US fall in economic freedom during each year of his Presidency?… You really have a low IQ but that is not surprising being a communist scum…

mnjg on January 10, 2013 at 4:56 PM

It’s only Jan. 10, 2013.

Schadenfreude on January 10, 2013 at 4:59 PM

mnjg on January 10, 2013 at 4:28 PM

Great post. Brayam does loves to compare the US to other countries…when it suits him.

If anything Obama has brought more economic freedom.

lester on January 10, 2013 at 4:49 PM

Simplistic as usual. You have something in common with Brayam.

CW on January 10, 2013 at 5:01 PM

The only thing that matters is that the elite eat caviar.

Chug the vodka shots, chow the caviar and choke on it.

Useless, fat, bastards.

Cody1991 on January 10, 2013 at 5:01 PM

If anything Obama has brought more economic freedom.

lester on January 10, 2013 at 4:49 PM

Holy cow! You’re delusional

DaveDief on January 10, 2013 at 5:06 PM

What is even more sad is that Sweden -SWEDEN – is pumping out rhetoric that is more conservative than the US. Such statments like, “when Swedish families keep more of their money, everyone is better off.” That is 100% the opposite of where the US is going right now. Plus, jag kan prata svenska.

how are ya with sharia? I hear Sweden has a large muslim immigrant population causing problems with which the docile Swedes appear to have difficulty in properly addressing.

hawkeye54 on January 10, 2013 at 5:07 PM

The beatings will continue until morale improves.

jukin3 on January 10, 2013 at 5:13 PM

If anything Obama has brought more economic freedom.

lester on January 10, 2013 at 4:49 PM

Wow. How many blow jobs have you performed on your messiah?

You’re the perfect political whore.

Congratulations, moron.

Cody1991 on January 10, 2013 at 5:17 PM

It’s only Jan. 10, 2013.

Schadenfreude on January 10, 2013 at 4:59 PM

I remember the good old days when 1/21/13 was going to be the end of an error and the One was going to be in our rearview mirrors. Who knew an Obamaphone and birth control could turn an election?

TxAnn56 on January 10, 2013 at 5:22 PM

If anything Obama has brought more economic freedom.

lester on January 10, 2013 at 4:49 PM

Wow. How many blow jobs have you performed on your messiah?

You’re the perfect political whore.

Oh, be kind! Probably read that on the internet. If its on the internet it must be true! Right?

hawkeye54 on January 10, 2013 at 5:23 PM

The whiz kid Jay Carney has this gem to share:

“Most importantly because deficit reduction is not a worthy goal onto itself,” said Carney, talking about government spending. “This is all about making our economy stronger, making it more productive and allowing it to create even more jobs. That is the most important thing when it comes to economic policy as far as the President is concerned.”

U.S. debt is estimated to be $16,432,659,028,067.50.

Hello, Jay, the economy will become stronger when the federal government takes its boots off the neck of the private sector. Deficits stand in the way of releasing our economic engine of productiviy and job creation.

onlineanalyst on January 10, 2013 at 5:25 PM

Claude Raines unavailable for comment. . ..

totherightofthem on January 10, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Oh, be kind! Probably read that on the internet. If its on the internet it must be true! Right?

hawkeye54 on January 10, 2013 at 5:23 PM

Yep. And State Farm has no smart phone apps and every guy one meets on the internet is a French model.

totherightofthem on January 10, 2013 at 5:27 PM

If anything Obama has brought more economic freedom.

lester on January 10, 2013 at 4:49 PM

I actually laughed out loud at this. That’s two lefties that have given me a laugh today. All y’all are good for something, I guess.

totherightofthem on January 10, 2013 at 5:28 PM

Obama probably thinks he should win the Nobel Prize for economics for his performance. I mean just look at all of the jobs “saved!”

Deano1952 on January 10, 2013 at 5:29 PM

Congratulations, you jugeared ignoramus.

hillbillyjim on January 10, 2013 at 5:31 PM

No kidding? Just put my list together for year end tax forms, etc, I need to submit and am up to 9 so far – this is for a 2 man company. Freedom’s just another word……

ncsully on January 10, 2013 at 5:31 PM

How many in the top 10 have “communist” healthcare? Eat dirt wingnuts! You call half those countries communist already!

If anything Obama has brought more economic freedom.

lester on January 10, 2013 at 4:49 PM

Go take a nap lester, this is as embarrassing a post I’ve seen here. Children make posts like this.

itsspideyman on January 10, 2013 at 5:35 PM

In 2008, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that in order to simply pay for then-projected spending, we would have to raise both the corporate tax rate and the top individual tax rate to 88 percent, raise the rate for middle-income workers to 63 percent, and raise the rate for low-income Americans to 25 percent. Given the explosion of spending in the last four years, those rates would have to be even higher today.

Does anyone this side of Paul Krugman believe we can sustain taxes at that level?

That means the only real solution must be on the spending side of the equation. Yet, we must recognize that there is no easy or painless way to cut spending to the degree it needs to be cut. For example, foreign aid amounts to just one percent of federal spending. Federal subsidies to Planned Parenthood and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting amount to a combined two one-hundredths of a percent. Indeed, all domestic discretionary spending this year, after adjusting for the fiscal cliff deal, will total just $628 billion. You could abolish all of it and you would still have a deficit this year of more than $312 billion.

Domestic discretionary spending amounts to 18 percent of all federal spending. Interest on the debt amounts to another 6 percent, but that is essentially untouchable. This leaves defense (19 percent) and entitlement programs, notably Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which consume 46 percent of federal spending. (Another 11 percent goes to other entitlements, homeland security, and a few additional categories.)

That is why it is so disappointing that Republicans are working to undo the sequester for defense spending, while President Obama is keeping entitlement reform off the table. Frankly, there is no way to balance the budget or reduce the debt if 71 percent of the budget (defense plus entitlements plus interest payments) is uncuttable.

Unfortunately, we have been here before. In 2011, we had a fight over the Continuing Resolution funding the government. After a near government shutdown, Congress and the president promised to do something about the deficit and overspending. A few months later, we had a crisis over the debt ceiling. Congress and the president promised to do something about the deficit and overspending. Two weeks ago, we almost fell off the fiscal cliff. Congress and the president promised to do something about the deficit and overspending.

Does anyone see a pattern here?

We are not going to tax our way out of debt. We are not going to grow our way out of debt. And we are not going to get out of debt by trimming “fraud, waste, and abuse.” It’s time to face the fiscal facts.

The Fiscal Facts of Life

Resist We Much on January 10, 2013 at 5:36 PM

So we’re SCREWED for at least another 4 years.

GarandFan on January 10, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Leftists don’t realize (or care) that without economic liberty no other liberties can exist. We’re going the wrong direction.

visions on January 10, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Those on the dole via government-issued EBT cards have all of the freedom that they want. They are free from work, AND they can spend that money on virtually anything that they want.

onlineanalyst on January 10, 2013 at 5:42 PM

Stagnation=Leadership

Bmore on January 10, 2013 at 5:43 PM

lester on January 10, 2013 at 4:49 PM

Your dirt awaits you.

Bmore on January 10, 2013 at 5:44 PM

Then the dark clouds started forming on the horizon and I, once again, find myself surronded by a bunch of nanny state socialists.

Except now there’s nowhere else to go…

NapaConservative on January 10, 2013 at 4:36 PM

You cannot escape because socialism is based on selfishness, and self love, once called sin.

My religion teaches sin is in all man. It says we will battle against man’s nature as long as man owns the earth.

The socialist consider free will the root of all evil. Wherever they migrate, they are weave a socialist web, because to them, evil acts are evidence the system has failed.

I feel the same depression. The socialist movement couldn’t take root until enough people rejected the old beliefs. Western socialism is actually peaking, because they have strangled the economy, but these rats will not behave well in the ship they sank. No rose garden for me, just a bunker and a battle flag.

Flavius Josephus on the Tower of Babel:

Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it were through his means they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage which procured that happiness. He also gradually changed the government into tyranny, seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence on his power…

entagor on January 10, 2013 at 6:00 PM

… anybody getting excited for more self-imposed stagnation?

Stagnation?

How about economic depression and inflationary policies disguised by the federal government and their LSM sychophants as stagnation and non-inflationary policies?

And as America goes, so goes the rest of the world (at least, still for now) …

ShainS on January 10, 2013 at 6:00 PM

If anything Obama has brought more economic freedom.

lester on January 10, 2013 at 4:49 PM

crr6, is that you??
I can’t think of anyone else on here who has that degree of recto-cranial inversion.

Sasha List on January 10, 2013 at 6:12 PM

If anything Obama has brought more economic freedom.
 
lester on January 10, 2013 at 4:49 PM

 
Actual admitted faith-based political beliefs.

rogerb on January 10, 2013 at 6:56 PM

If anything Obama has brought more economic freedom.

lester on January 10, 2013 at 4:49 PM

ROTFLMFAO@U!

Resist We Much on January 10, 2013 at 7:15 PM

Some would say Obama is failing. Obama and the other liberals would say these are signs that he is succeeding. We as conservatives see losses in economic and personal freedom as a failing of our government but liberals see it quite the opposite. They strive for more oppression. They are succeeding beyond their wildest expectations.

If you just come to the realization of what liberals are all about it is easy to see how this is success in their eyes. To liberals the USA is perhaps the worst country on the planet. They view wealth, prosperity and freedom as inherently evil. You can call it a form of white guilt I suppose. They would rather have 100% of the population mired in poverty and virtual slavery than have some wealthy and some poor. And since they think the only way to become wealthy is by making others poor they naturally would just rather have everyone poor.

The Notorious G.O.P on January 10, 2013 at 7:55 PM

how are ya with sharia? I hear Sweden has a large muslim immigrant population causing problems with which the docile Swedes appear to have difficulty in properly addressing.

hawkeye54 on January 10, 2013 at 5:07 PM

Sweden’s muslim population has skyrocketed in the last decade due to lavish aid and social programs with very little or no accountability and poor authentication of origin and status of refugees. Ghetto’s are forming. Rapes, beatings and murders have skyrocketed as well. The Swedish people in general are miserable because of it but the Swedish government is hellbent on being diverse and the kumbaya juice is flowing freely. Jews in Sweden are being harassed, threatened, beaten and killed. Jewish women are being raped at an alarming rate by muslims. Long gone is the Swedish role model for the rest of the world. Meanwhile, people have figured out that it doesn’t pay to work so they fake disability or just plain stay home and collect the lavish unemployment checks that the government is doling out in the name of compassion. What once was an idyllic country is now a big, fat ugly mess.

NapaConservative on January 10, 2013 at 9:05 PM

F O R W A R D !

KOOLAID2 on January 11, 2013 at 12:01 AM

NapaConservative on January 10, 2013 at 9:05 PM

I was wondering on how long it would take for Sweden’s ‘model’ to fall apart like a liberal faced with a fact. Their brilliant socialist economy could only exist because of a near-monoculture of white Europeans, and that was before people figured out in large numbers just to game the system.

Are there ANY such ‘models’ left for the libtards to hold up or have they all started to go south if they’re not already crumbling?

MelonCollie on January 12, 2013 at 10:05 PM