Less Boxing, More Economic Freedom

The second presidential debate is scheduled for Wednesday and the candidates are no doubt honing their talking points and preparing to face tough questions. To help them out, I’ve got a question of my own: Why is the United States now ranked 16th, behind Canada – Canada! – on the Fraser Institute’s index of economic freedom?

This country is arguably the only one in human history directly founded on the principles of liberty, and yet 15 countries are now beating us? That’s unacceptable, and speaks volumes about the misguided economic policies that have been in effect since, well, always I guess.

Our taxes are too high, regulations are choking off startups and innovations, you need a license to do just about anything, spending is out of control, debt is threatening to consume our entire economy, we refuse to use the abundant natural resources with which nature has blessed us, and the Federal Reserve is happily printing money and setting us up for the next big economic crash.

In the midst of all of this, we have a presidential election in which many of the top-tier candidates are virtually ignoring these, the most pressing problems of our time. CNN is billing the debate as a boxing match, a contest of rhetoric to see who can deliver the biggest knockout punch.

I get that bombast sells and that political theater is pretty much the best kind of theater there is, but it sure would be nice for the debate to focus on substance. I don’t want to vote for a candidate who is happy with an America in 16th place, or even one who will settle for a spot in the top ten. America should be number one in economic freedom, number one in personal freedom, in fact there’s no reason I can see for it not to be the all around freest place in the whole world.

When Ronald Reagan described the country as a shining city on a hill, he wasn’t talking about being number 16, and given the lip service many of these candidates are eager to pay to the Gipper, you would think they would be ready to put their money where their mouths are.

I’ll be watching on Wednesday night, but I don’t want to see a boxing match. I don’t care who has the best one liner, and I certainly don’t care who talks the loudest. I’ll be looking for the candidate who has a plan to get us from number 16 to number one, and who has the strength of leadership to keep us there.