United States Falls to 18th Most Economically Free Country

Americans commemorated Constitution Day last Monday.

Our founding document was signed 225 years ago in Philadelphia. When Ben Franklin left Independence Hall at the close of the Constitutional Convention, a woman reportedly asked him, “Well, doctor, what have we got, a republic or monarchy?”

 He replied, “A republic, madam—if you can keep it.”

If the Founding Fathers could see America today, they would surely be ashamed of how far we have drifted away from our founding principles of limited government and personal responsibility.

The 2012 Economic Freedom of the World report released by the Cato Institute and the Fraser Institute finds that the United States has fallen to the 18th most economically free country in the world. As the authors explain:

 The United States has fallen precipitously from second in 2000 to eighth in 2005 and 19th  in 2010 (unadjusted ranking of 18th). By 2009, the United States had fallen behind Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Chile, and Mauritius, countries that chose not to follow the path of massive growth in government financed by borrowing that is now the most prominent characteristic of US fiscal policy. By 2010, the United States had also fallen behind Finland and Denmark, two European welfare states. Moreover, it now trails Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Estonia, Taiwan, and Qatar, countries that are not usually perceived of as bastions of economic freedom.

The authors measured the degree of economic freedom in every country using five broad areas:

1. Size of government

2. Legal system and property rights

3. Sound money

4. Freedom to trade internationally

5. Regulation

Particularly over the past ten years, the size of U.S. government has dramatically grown, property rights have become less protected, inflation has risen, and the number of regulations has skyrocketed.

We are clearly headed in the wrong direction and we must reverse course before it’s too late.