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Declining Economic Freedom

If you hope that one day your children and grandchildren will enjoy more freedoms and opportunities than you did, you may be in for some disappointment. America is headed in the wrong direction, at least economically.

The Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal have released their annual Economic Freedom Index. It evaluates ten categories to measure this freedom including the size of government, government spending, corruption, property rights, fiscal soundness and more.

The United States has been declining on this index for the last seven years, and it has now officially dropped out of the top ten most economically free countries, ranking a disappointing 12th. To give you some perspective, we were ranked 6th in the world when Barack Obama became president.

The United States is losing ground on many fronts, but the absolute worst was government spending. I've been harping on this for a while now. We as a nation cannot survive these record levels of debt: $17 plus trillion in debt, $90 trillion in unfunded liabilities. And Congress is about to spend another trillion in their fresh omnibus agreement! Debt does nothing but give us less options, which is why it equates to less freedom. If we do not change course, one day there may not be a United States to rank, at least not in its current form. This is why I proposed my conservative solutions for our economy, which you can read here.

The Wall Street Journal points out that even with marginal tax rates of 43%, we are unable to finance our ridiculous levels of spending; the debt continues to increase and Americans are left with less money in their pockets to spend, invest, save, donate to charity, start a business, etc.

The United States is also bogged down by an increasing number of onerous regulations, which drag down our economy. This is particularly apparent in the energy, finance and healthcare sectors. Businesses in America spend trillions of dollars and millions of man hours simply complying with federal regulations. Imagine if that money was spent productively, the jolt it could provide to our economy.

The Wall Street Journal points out that those countries losing their economic freedoms are marked by economic stagnation, high unemployment and deteriorating social conditions. Sound familiar?

While economic freedoms within the United States are on the decline, world economic freedom is up! In other words, countries around the world are becoming more free as we are becoming less so. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Governments in 114 countries have taken steps in the past year to increase the economic freedom of their citizens. Forty-three countries, from every part of the world, have now reached their highest economic freedom ranking in the index's history.”

So who is at the top? Hong Kong is number one on this index, followed by Singapore and Australia. Those who are gaining fast (most improved) are from Eastern Europe and include nations like the Czech Republic and Estonia.

With everything that we have to offer as a nation, it's appalling that we continue to drop on this list. It's even more upsetting when you consider that there will be no change in this trajectory unless we make some substantial changes in this nation.