Oh, great: United States falls out of the top ten for economic freedom

posted at 8:01 pm on January 14, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

For going on 20 years now, the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal have been putting together an annual Index of Economic Freedom by evaluating countries the world over based on ten criteria along the lines of property rights, government spending, freedom from corruption, trade freedom, and the like. They released the 2014 edition of their annaul Index today, and here’s the good news: Worldwide economic freedom has reached record levels, huzzah! The various governments of 114 countries took steps in 2013 that increased their citizens’ economic freedom, and 43 countries all over the world have now reached their highest ranking in the Index’s history. Awesome, right?

But, here’s the bad news: The United States is no longer among the relative elite of these economically free nations. Oof.

Countries achieving higher levels of economic freedom consistently and measurably outperform others in economic growth, long-term prosperity and social progress. Botswana, for example, has made gains through low tax rates and political stability.

Those losing freedom, on the other hand, risk economic stagnation, high unemployment and deteriorating social conditions. For instance, heavy-handed government intervention in Brazil’s economy continues to limit mobility and fuel a sense of injustice.

It’s not hard to see why the U.S. is losing ground. Even marginal tax rates exceeding 43% cannot finance runaway government spending, which has caused the national debt to skyrocket. The Obama administration continues to shackle entire sectors of the economy with regulation, including health care, finance and energy. The intervention impedes both personal freedom and national prosperity.

http://www.heritage.org/index/images/book/2014/in-2014-region-map-web-world.jpg

Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Switzerland, New Zealand, Canada, Chile, Mauritius, Ireland, Denmark, and Estonia all outrank our new 12th-place spot, with Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Cuba, and North Korea bringing up the very rear [...shudders].

As I mentioned earlier today, the Obama administration is currently prepping for the president’s fifth State of the Union address by touting all the sweet executive actions they’ve freshly come up with to spur along the economy should Congress fail to act on their legislative proposals. Yet again, however, the Obama administration’s ideas all seem to center around ways to spend more taxpayer money, increase top-down federal intervention, and layer the regulations on even more thickly — i.e., take our economic freedom even further down the drain — and their only regret seems to be that this spitefully obstructionist ‘Republican’ Congress of ours hasn’t permitted them to do even more of the same.


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Darn!!! Insert pivoting post here.

WryTrvllr on January 14, 2014 at 8:10 PM

King Barack the Magnificent was unavailable for comment.

GarandFan on January 14, 2014 at 8:12 PM

Monty Burns’ “Excellent”

– Dear Liar

rbj on January 14, 2014 at 8:13 PM

Just economic freedom? I’d say other freedoms too. The freedom to actually practice your Christian faith is at risk. The freedom to have an opinion that won’t cost you your job (Hi, Phil!) is on uneven ground.

Your freedom now depends on how connected to the elite you are.

Vanceone on January 14, 2014 at 8:17 PM

Vouchers. Smouchers. That index is obviously racist!

—- Sleazy Eric “the Red” Holder

viking01 on January 14, 2014 at 8:18 PM

Belize sounded nice. Until I found out it’s smaller than the County I live in.

I guess I’ll have to stand my ground here. There’s no where to run to.

wolly4321 on January 14, 2014 at 8:18 PM

Look at Canada…Christ, I’m not that far from there.

But there’s also Australia…woof…that’s a trip.

BigWyo on January 14, 2014 at 8:19 PM

Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Switzerland, New Zealand, Canada, Chile, Mauritius, Ireland, Denmark,

I had to look that one up. Evidently it has a per-capita GDP of $8,850. Given that ours is $52,839 I doubt I’m going to be suffering from a lot of envy anytime soon.

I also took a look at their political system. Currently the Labour Party is in charge there. Per Wikipedia: “The Labour Party (French: Parti Travailliste) (PTR) is a centre-left social-democratic political party in Mauritius, and one of the three main Mauritian political parties along with the Mauritian Militant Movement and the Militant Socialist Movement.”

Something tells me that they may rank high on “economic freedom,” but they’ve still got a few screws loose.

Stoic Patriot on January 14, 2014 at 8:19 PM

Fundamental Transformation. Should we be surprised?

Jackson on January 14, 2014 at 8:20 PM

It`s interesting to see mostly free and free are in Europe and N. America (with Austrailia included).

ThePrez on January 14, 2014 at 8:21 PM

I don’t plan on letting progs rule.

I’ve studied enough history to know what that means.

wolly4321 on January 14, 2014 at 8:22 PM

All hail Obama!

King of Denial, Pharaoh of Deceit, Emperor of Malevolence, Son of Infamy, Brother of Despair, Husband of Avarice, Father of Hubris…

LO! His titles are many, and his ego eclipses the sun!

thatsafactjack on January 14, 2014 at 8:23 PM

Wow. That’s a lot of relatively liberal countries up there….

segasagez on January 14, 2014 at 8:24 PM

Obama’s sons couldn’t be happier.

viking01 on January 14, 2014 at 8:24 PM

Let me C…….Fascism is the system of government that cartelizes the private sector, centrally plans the economy to subsidize producers, exalts the police State as the source of order, denies fundamental rights and liberties to individuals, and makes the executive State the unlimited master of society…….. Yep…… we right on course…..
Hitler would be proud.

roflmmfao

donabernathy on January 14, 2014 at 8:25 PM

But hey, at least gays can pretend they’re heterosexuals now.

p0s3r on January 14, 2014 at 8:26 PM

Wow. That’s a lot of relatively liberal countries up there….

segasagez on January 14, 2014 at 8:24 PM

Which one of those do you live in?

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 14, 2014 at 8:29 PM

Hong Kong,…Uno number#1!!!!

canopfor on January 14, 2014 at 8:29 PM

Can I open carry down under?

wolly4321 on January 14, 2014 at 8:29 PM

All going perfectly to plan, of course.

Midas on January 14, 2014 at 8:30 PM

First credit rating cut, longest recession, largest number dropped out of labor pool, largest number on food stamps and now dropping 7 places in economic freedom.

That’s a legacy you can really hang your hat on.

KMC1 on January 14, 2014 at 8:31 PM

Fundamental Transformation. Should we be surprised?

Jackson on January 14, 2014 at 8:20 PM

One thing the God King didn’t lie about.

Go Barry!!!

BigWyo on January 14, 2014 at 8:31 PM

From the South China Morning Post:

SCMP 南華早報 ‏@SCMP_News 9m

Hong Kong’s status as world’s freest economy threatened by Singapore: Heritage Foundation | http://sc.mp/6bi6e
========================================

Hong Kong’s status as world’s freest economy threatened by Singapore, says Heritage Foundation

City tops world rankings again, but with Singapore snapping at its heels, American think tank says

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 January, 2014, 1:20pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 January, 2014, 1:43am
*********************************************

http://www.scmp.com/business/economy/article/1405318/hong-kongs-status-worlds-freest-economy-threatened-singapore-says

https://twitter.com/SCMP_News

canopfor on January 14, 2014 at 8:32 PM

My collie says:

In other news, the Obama administration has issued an executive order which has officially changed our name from “The United States of America” to “The Organized Communities of His Eminence The Lightworker of Hope and Change”.

It’s a fundamental transformation, alright.

CyberCipher on January 14, 2014 at 8:32 PM

…P I V O T…

KOOLAID2 on January 14, 2014 at 8:33 PM

Fundamental Transformation. Should we be surprised?

Jackson on January 14, 2014 at 8:20 PM

Jackson:

With a Holier Than Thou Social InJustice Crusade by
InEquality Warrior In Chief Hopey/Changey,….

NO,…correct you ARE!:)

canopfor on January 14, 2014 at 8:35 PM

First credit rating cut, longest recession, largest number dropped out of labor pool, largest number on food stamps and now dropping 7 places in economic freedom.

That’s a legacy you can really hang your hat on.

KMC1 on January 14, 2014 at 8:31 PM

Change you can believe in!

WryTrvllr on January 14, 2014 at 8:36 PM

Venezuela, here we come!

Deafdog on January 14, 2014 at 8:39 PM

Once upon a time people used to call something like this a helluva news story.

Rational Thought on January 14, 2014 at 8:39 PM

Can I open carry down under?

wolly4321 on January 14, 2014 at 8:29 PM

wolly4321:

Now I gots to admit,..do they have a carry holster to fit your little man,
and, don’t you think that the threat should be neautralized, before need-
ing a little back up!!

Oh wait,..you mean New Zealand/Australia, crap,nevermind!!
(snark):0

canopfor on January 14, 2014 at 8:40 PM

Btw-Congrats to any cannucks who may be reading. Harper was tea party when tea party wasn’t cool.

Deafdog on January 14, 2014 at 8:41 PM

Oh yeah ??? Where else can you gets yo steaks and crack with Stamps?

Discuss.

viking01 on January 14, 2014 at 8:43 PM

Heads UP:

Either a Repeat/ OR LIVE:

Now on C-SPAN2: New Jersey State of the State Address
*****************************************************

http://www.c-span.org/Live-Video/C-SPAN2/

canopfor on January 14, 2014 at 8:46 PM

Canada > USA.

So sad. Oh well.

I bet within my lifetime Mexico will also surpass the USA in terms of economic freedom. Think it can’t happen? Think again. Our Leftists are crazed nutjobs and our Legacy Media is beyond corrupt.

visions on January 14, 2014 at 8:46 PM

Not just steaks and crack, in Colorado I can use my snap for a tasty buzz! Now that is economic freedom!

Deafdog on January 14, 2014 at 8:46 PM

I guess I’ll have to stand my ground here. There’s no where to run to.

wolly4321 on January 14, 2014 at 8:18 PM

There really isn’t.

Can I open carry down under?

wolly4321 on January 14, 2014 at 8:29 PM

NO! You won’t even be able to own!

Lanceman on January 14, 2014 at 8:49 PM

“Lead from behind” isn’t just a foreign policy goal.

jarodea on January 14, 2014 at 8:49 PM

Oh yeah ??? Where else can you gets yo steaks and crack with Stamps?

Discuss.

viking01 on January 14, 2014 at 8:43 PM

or Legal weed in Colorado???

or huge Liberal ButtHurt if you want the leeches to get drug tested in Florida??

Is this country great or what??

BigWyo on January 14, 2014 at 8:50 PM

It’s not hard to see why the U.S. is losing ground. Even marginal tax rates exceeding 43% cannot finance runaway government spending, which has caused the national debt to skyrocket. The Obama administration continues to shackle entire sectors of the economy with regulation, including health care, finance and energy. The intervention impedes both personal freedom and national prosperity.

Yet again, however, the Obama administration’s ideas all seem to center around ways to spend more taxpayer money, increase top-down federal intervention, and layer the regulations on even more thickly — i.e., take our economic freedom even further down the drain — and their only regret seems to be that this spitefully obstructionist ‘Republican’ Congress of ours hasn’t permitted them to do even more of the same.


Yet again, Erika, you fail to mention the GOPe and GOPe-media rolling over for the administration.

The new omnibus budgetary initiative is bipartisan … and only veterans are taking the REAL cuts.

This is far more widespread than any one political party, ideology or PAC.

This is caused by the full out abandonment of free market principles by EVERYONE in Washington, D.C.

based on ten criteria along the lines of property rights, government spending, freedom from corruption, trade freedom, and the like

.
Like what would happen if FASB rule 157 were put back into effect tonight at midnight …

90% of publicly held companies would be bankrupt tomorrow morning when the opened for business.

The New Big Lie™ of American politics is,

“Everything is s l o w l y getting back to normal.”

You can’t have economic freedom when EVERYTHING in the economy is based on lies.

BIG American businesses, including those owned/led by the GOPe Donor Class, have learned how to survive when the Federal budget gets a permanent $1 TRILLION dollar increase (~ 50%) in Obama’s first and all subsequent years.

BIG American businesses also LOVE the death of “mark to market” accounting that occurred with the suspension of FASB rule 157 for asset valuation in 2009. This allows the Too Big Too Jail banks to pretend they are solvent by valuing their millions of foreclosed homes at whatever price they wish to declare.

It ALSO allows every other BIG American business to do the exact same thing with regard to the assets they own.

They are all Enrons now.

Any firm that didn’t cook its books was going to look VERY bad compared to their competition – so all of those businesses have been “gone along to get along” since 2009 using the same deceptive methods the Too Big Too Jail banks initiated.

Sequester cuts were ACTUALLY cutting the budget back down to size!?!

The GOPe Donor Class can NOT allow that to happen – they’ve forecast their FUTURE growth based on the FUTURE growth of the Federal Budget Defecit.

And those wild-eyed Tea Party Congresspeople, many of whom have run SMALL American businesses, are apt to force an end to the Fairy Tale Accounting used by BIG American businesses.

Why aren’t there any jobs?

Because hiring employees incurs REAL costs that are difficult to offset with Fairy Tale Accounting. Costs like FICA taxes, overhead costs (i.e. floor space & tools to use) and benefits.

Boehner, Ryan, Cantor et al know the destructive reality of NOT going along with the New Big Lie™ …

… if we stop PRETENDING everything is OK – it will ALL fall apart in a matter of days and we will be in a worse place than we were when Bernanke kicked it off in March 2009 with QE1.

Of course, even if we don’t stop PRETENDING … we are not very far from the point when something will force REALITY back on us.

PolAgnostic on January 14, 2014 at 8:50 PM

First credit rating cut, longest recession, largest number dropped out of labor pool, largest number on food stamps and now dropping 7 places in economic freedom.

That’s a legacy you can really hang your hat on.

KMC1 on January 14, 2014 at 8:31 PM

True, but the survey’s about the relative ease business can be conducted without government interference-not social freedoms nor quality of life.

I can guess that Hong Kong and Singapore have well-established, time-honored systems of graft and kickbacks in place that ensure the smooth running of commerce.

The U.S. on the other hand is no longer seen as being anything more than a pile of accumulated wealth and resources to be looted by some of our own and especially foreign interests…they get wealthy off our backs as we transition into Third World exploited status. American Capitalism and U.S. taxpayers’ money (and in many cases American blood) built these other countries and increased their standard of living. But what they don’t realize is that as we fail, so will they. It just takes a while to catch up.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 14, 2014 at 8:53 PM

Leftists and low-info voters don’t seem to understand that without economic freedom no other freedoms can exist for very long.

When Big Government-types clamp down on economic freedom (private property rights, freedom of contract, etc.) they give themselves the means to clamp down on everything else: religious freedom, freedom of speech, gun rights, health care, education, food supply, energy resources, etc. This is why those places on that map with low economic freedom are also hellholes.

So when the Left gives a collective “shrug” to our rapidly diminished economic freedoms they look as clueless as ever. They’re authoritarians at heart, there can be no doubt.

visions on January 14, 2014 at 8:53 PM

Let’s hear it for democrats!

Murphy9 on January 14, 2014 at 8:57 PM

I hear Botswana is nice this of year.

Norwegian on January 14, 2014 at 8:59 PM

Of course, even if we don’t stop PRETENDING … we are not very far from the point when something will force REALITY back on us.

PolAgnostic on January 14, 2014 at 8:50 PM

The hinge that makes Capitalism work, what makes it beneficial for all Citizens in the way of economic prosperity and options to make money, is competition.

But the ability of one company to buy out another (certainly quite OK in a Capitalist system) eventually negates the competition portion. Once monopolies take over, there is no more free enterprise but instead de facto Corporatism whether it be state-sponsored or not.

I can’t see any way around that. The ability to buy out competitors is the very thing that will eventually do Capitalism in. The point of Capitalism is to accumulate wealth-not to enjoy the pleasures of free enterprise sportsmanship.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 14, 2014 at 9:00 PM

It always comes down to millimeters ~vs~ decimals of an inch.

wolly4321 on January 14, 2014 at 9:00 PM

I hear Botswana is nice this of year.

Norwegian on January 14, 2014 at 8:59 PM

So’s Rhodesia…oh, that’s right, never mind.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 14, 2014 at 9:01 PM

Not so much “falls” as “plummets.”

viking01 on January 14, 2014 at 9:02 PM

OT: It’s on! The first primary of 2014 (GOPe wins over Tea Party candidate):

David Jolly Wins Pinellas County GOP Congressional Primary

Jolly had the backing of much of the Republican leadership in Pinellas County, including Beverly Young, the congressman’s widow. Peters had the support, among others, of state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-St. Petersburg, while former U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., helped solidify Bircher’s tea party credentials.

Democrats quickly fired away at the new nominee. “The choice for voters in Pinellas County couldn’t be more clear: Alex Sink, a business leader and common-sense problem solver, and David Jolly, a Washington, D.C., lobbyist who worked as a shill for the highest-bidding special interest,” said Andy Stone, a spokesman for House Majority PAC, a Democratic super-PAC.

kcewa on January 14, 2014 at 9:03 PM

their annaul Index today

Oops!

itsnotaboutme on January 14, 2014 at 9:03 PM

Hey man who cares?

Got any weed?

//Colorado

In America drugs are becoming legal and industry and light bulbs are becoming illegal.

“FREEEDDDOOOMMM”

harlekwin15 on January 14, 2014 at 9:04 PM

evaluating countries the world over based on ten criteria along the lines of property rights… freedom from corruption, trade freedom, and the like.

Those are all on Obama’s enemies list.

itsnotaboutme on January 14, 2014 at 9:07 PM

OT: It’s on! The first primary of 2014 (GOPe wins over Tea Party candidate):

David Jolly Wins Pinellas County GOP Congressional Primary

kcewa on January 14, 2014 at 9:03 PM

kcewa: Good catch, I sent it to Tips, an hour ago:)
===================================================

Florida, US
1h
Former Bill Young aide David Jolly wins GOP primary to replace late congressman as Florida representative in US House – @AP
end of bulletin

canopfor on January 14, 2014 at 9:16 PM

Good catch, I sent it to Tips, an hour ago:)
===================================================

Florida, US
1h
Former Bill Young aide David Jolly wins GOP primary to replace late congressman as Florida representative in US House – @AP
end of bulletin

canopfor on January 14, 2014 at 9:16 PM

They should listen to you…

kcewa on January 14, 2014 at 9:21 PM

Fundamentally transforming America ten notches at a time.

VorDaj on January 14, 2014 at 9:23 PM

I can understand Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan not being ranked.

After all, to have economic freedom you first need an economy. Defined as the ability to conduct business without being killed on general principles.

Come to think of it, that axiom probably explains Detroit, too.

Chicago, NYC, SF, etc., to be next on the “not ranked” list, I suspect.

clear ether

eon

eon on January 14, 2014 at 9:53 PM

Completely unexpected. No one could’ve seen this coming. Damn that Bush. *shakes fist* /

Midas on January 14, 2014 at 9:56 PM

This index of “economic freedom” measures something, but it sure as hell shouldn’t be called any kind of “freedom.” Hong Kong and Singapore are both in the top five, and”free” is the last thing they are.

notropis on January 14, 2014 at 9:58 PM

Hey, no worries – the GOP will fix it this time, really. Let’s just all send them more of our money, and vote for whatever establishment candidate’s turn it is to lose – I mean, whichever candidates the party says are the most ‘electable’ (just stay way away from those crazy ‘tea party’ wackobirds – no, they did not help win the House in 2010, who told you *that*?), and all will be grand and glorious again in no time at all! /

Midas on January 14, 2014 at 10:09 PM

canopfor on January 14, 2014 at 9:16 PM

They should listen to you…

kcewa on January 14, 2014 at 9:21 PM

kcewa:Lol,ums,..maybes:0

canopfor on January 14, 2014 at 10:18 PM

After five years of America held hostage under the Dear Leader I’m surprised we stayed in the top ten as long as we did.

alchemist19 on January 14, 2014 at 10:28 PM

Is Zimbabwe ahead of us yet?

viking01 on January 14, 2014 at 10:40 PM

The hinge that makes Capitalism work, what makes it beneficial for all Citizens in the way of economic prosperity and options to make money, is competition.

But the ability of one company to buy out another (certainly quite OK in a Capitalist system) eventually negates the competition portion. Once monopolies take over, there is no more free enterprise but instead de facto Corporatism whether it be state-sponsored or not.

I can’t see any way around that. The ability to buy out competitors is the very thing that will eventually do Capitalism in. The point of Capitalism is to accumulate wealth-not to enjoy the pleasures of free enterprise sportsmanship.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 14, 2014 at 9:00 PM

Your comment triggered my recollection of a very interesting book called The Honey and the Hemlock. Among other things, the author compares the economic and political systems of ancient Greece with those of ancient Judea, unsurprisingly favoring the former.
In the midst of his condescending critique of the Hebrew nation, he remarks with approval (in one chapter) that the Greeks had the salutary habit of reversing income inequality achieved by monopolistic acquisition through recourse to bloody revolution, thus demonstrating their democratic bona fides.
In another chapter (in a different context) he observes that the Jewish laws of Deuteronomy prescribe a regular “Jubilee year,” one component of which directed that acquired property (in an analogue of “capitalistic monopoly”) had to be returned to its original owners or their family, achieving the same results as the Greek revolutions without the bloodshed.
He never acknowledged the correspondence.

Could this type of peaceful reversion (and subsequent break-up of monopolies) occur in the modern economy?

Probably not at this late date, as property sales are considered “final”, rather than “temporary” (with the exception of some real property transactions in Hawaii, in which you are only leasing the land your house sits on).

I have no idea how reversion would occur with intellectual property, or anything not land-bound.

It may be worth pointing out that many of the social and political problems in ancient Israel which eventually ignited the Lord’s wrath, and occasional “shaving” by the “hired razor,” ultimately stemmed from weaselly legalistic justifications for evading this and other the economic strictures of The Law.

AesopFan on January 15, 2014 at 12:04 AM

Heritage blames the govt takeover of healthcare as a reason for this drop.
Interestingly, the top ten countries on the list all have universal healthcare systems.
Weird.

greataunty on January 15, 2014 at 8:09 AM

Historical Obama milestones as President:

Set Records for ‘Monthly’, ‘Annual’, & ‘Total’ deficit-spending, adding over $6 Trillion in new debt in only 4 years.

1st Credit Rating Downgrade in U.S. history.
– Obama was warned he had to make budget cuts or take some action to prove he was taking the out-of-control deficit-spending / deficit-growth serious, & Obama completely ignored it, instead rejecting every budget cut requested by Congress.

Now the U.S. drops out of the world’s top 10 for economic freedom.
– Obama selected an Obama donor to investigate his use (and abuse) of the IRS to target American citizens, who he even called his ‘political enemies’ (documents discovered)! The final report (surprise, surprise) states no criminal activity was found, & the announcement was made that no criminal charges will be filed in this massive crime against the American people! ‘Economic freedom’ … or ‘freedom’ otherwise…is on the ‘Endangered Species’ list as this administration iws waging an all out war against the Constitution and our rights/freedom!

easyt65 on January 15, 2014 at 8:24 AM

Heritage blames the govt takeover of healthcare as a reason for this drop.
Interestingly, the top ten countries on the list all have universal healthcare systems.
Weird.

greataunty on January 15, 2014 at 8:09 AM

Explain the correlation greataunty.

Are you capable?

Murphy9 on January 15, 2014 at 12:09 PM