Like me, you have probably wondered from time to time just exactly where we stack up against the rest of the world in this all-important area. Well, the people at the Heritage Foundation have been examining this, as they do each year, and have come up with some analysis that should send a chill down the spine of anyone who truly values their freedom, particularly that of the economic variety. One year ago, we were the sixth freest economy in the world, which was pretty pathetic. Now we have dropped to eighth place.
Via the Wall Street Journal (Bolds are mine):
The United States is losing ground to its major competitors in the global marketplace, according to the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom released today by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. This year, of the world's 20 largest economies, the U.S. suffered the largest drop in overall economic freedom. Its score declined to 78 from 80.7 on the 0 to 100 Index scale.You will find the rest at this link. I strongly encourage you to read it in its entirety.
The U.S. lost ground on many fronts. Scores declined in seven of the 10 categories of economic freedom. Losses were particularly significant in the areas of financial and monetary freedom and property rights. Driving it all were the federal government's interventionist responses to the financial and economic crises of the last two years, which have included politically influenced regulatory changes, protectionist trade restrictions, massive stimulus spending and bailouts of financial and automotive firms deemed "too big to fail." These policies have resulted in job losses, discouraged entrepreneurship, and saddled America with unprecedented government deficits.
In the world-wide rankings of economic freedom, the U.S. fell to eighth from sixth place. Canada now ranks higher and boasts North America's freest economy. More worrisome, for the first time in the Index's 16-year history, the U.S. has fallen out of the elite group of countries identified as "economically free" by the objective measures of the Index. Four Asia-Pacific economies now sit atop the global rankings. Hong Kong stands in first place for the 16th consecutive year, followed by Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. Every region of the world maintains at least one country among those deemed "free" or "mostly free" by the Index.
I have to believe the overall decline of America is reversible, even though it flies in the face of recorded history.
What helped get us here was the spread of the idea that people could use government to loot the property of others. That idea can be eliminated, even though doing so is an extremely tall order.
History does not have to repeat itself.