Editorial: Free -- mostly

Bureaucracy, over-regulation smother America's economic freedom

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You can now say America’s free economy is a “mostly free” economy.

It’s official – the United States has fallen from the list of the world’s top 10 freest economies. The newly released 2014 Index of Economic Freedom by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal places the United States at No. 12, down two spots from No. 10 last year.

The United States is the only country to have recorded a loss of economic freedom in each of the past seven years, starting with the tail end of the Bush administration and continuing through the Obama presidency.

“Now considered only a ‘mostly free’ economy, the U.S. has earned the dubious distinction of having recorded one of the longest sustained declines in economic freedom, second only to Argentina, of any country in the (20-year) history of the Index,” observe the report’s editors, Ambassador Terry Miller, Anthony B. Kim, and Kim Holmes, Ph.D., all Heritage Foundation scholars.

It doesn’t take a scholar to figure out the underlying causes to our decline, but experts lay them out anyway: reckless government spending, onerous regulations, bureaucratic red tape, the nationalization of American industries, trillion-dollar annual deficits and, the latest and greatest, Obamacare.

“Implementation of the health care law passed in 2010 has hit major snags and appears to be significantly hurting job creation and full-time employment,” the editors write.

If you’re wondering about our current standing in the world, the United States is now sandwiched behind No. 11 Estonia and No. 13 Bahrain. The top 10 (in order of rank) are Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Switzerland, New Zealand, Canada, Chile, Mauritius, Ireland and Denmark. The top six are in the “free” economic category. The bottom of the list, in the “repressed” economic category, includes Cuba (No. 177) and North Korea (178).

Countries are evaluated in four broad areas: rule of law (which examines the protection of property rights and the honesty of the judiciary); limited government (tax rates, government spending); regulatory efficiency (inflation, price stability, bureaucracy) and open markets (free trade).

According to the index, America earned points for its property rights, judiciary, low tariffs and flexible labor market. It was dinged, however, for its regulatory costs (which have risen $60 billion since 2009), number of new regulations
(130), and overall tax rate (which, at 25.1 percent, means the government takes about $1 out of every $4 earned). Government spending, which amounts to 40 percent of the gross domestic product, is too high as well.

So, in a nutshell, nonstop expansion of the state is causing our economic freedoms to plummet.

“Substantial expansion in the size and scope of government, including through new and costly regulations in areas like finance and health care, has contributed significantly to the erosion of U.S. economic freedom,” the index editors write.

How can the trend be reversed? By making it easier for Americans to acquire wealth, for starters. Don’t let over-regulation smother our nation’s legendary enterpreneurial spirit.

“People (such as) Obama who obsess about income inequality should consider robust economic growth the best way to boost the fortunes of all, and especially for those with the least,” suggested conservative columnist Deroy Murdock. “Rather than redistribute what little is on hand, America’s business should be a constant effort to increase the winnings on the table, well before any effort to figure out whom, ultimately, gets what – and the way to do that is to stay atop a measure like Heritage’s.”

It should alarm us all to have America’s economic ranking sandwiched unceremoniously between countries such as Estonia and Bahrain.

If the United States suffers another drop in this ranking next year, citizens’ economic suffering could continue for many more years to come.

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deestafford
27840
Points
deestafford 01/21/14 - 01:07 am
8
1
You know that sad part of this report?

You know the sad part of this report? Is the ho--humm response by the media, the politicians in DC, and the populace as a whole.

There was a time when people would be up in arms and indignant that we were not number one, but now we are #12 and few care. What an indictment of what we have become and continue to embrace.

I guess we are seeing the results of the "participation culture" where winning doesn't really matter because we all get a trophy because "we tried hard and nobody wants to hurt our 'feelings'".

America has become soft and it's getting softer. Yeah, that's us---"Soft America" "We're #12! Yeah!!"

GACopprhed
2136
Points
GACopprhed 01/21/14 - 04:24 am
0
0
The words HERITAGE FOUNDATION
Unpublished

The words HERITAGE FOUNDATION automatically invalidates the study, it is entirely partisan. Puleeeze......as John Boehner put it.."they've lost all relevance", their data will be opinion, and skewed. Sorta like America's being, at best 32nd in the world for quality and outcome of healthcare, much more true and factually based that any Heritage Foundation opinion could be.

ymnbde
9897
Points
ymnbde 01/21/14 - 07:12 am
8
2
aren't governments endowed by their creators too?

don't they have happiness of their own to pursue?
how about ranking the freest governments?
ours does not yet have the freedom of Cuba or North Korea
but with just a few more elections won by liberal democrats
it will
because taking from current workers, and taking loans in their names
without educating the future workers (especially future black workers) well enough to get good jobs and be self-sufficient
is the perfect recipe for our government to be the freest in the world
they have no constraints on their spending
they have "a pen" that writes laws no one reads (until their premiums and deductibles go up!) and forces banks to loan money to bad credit risks (housing crisis!)
and blatantly does not educate black kids as well as white kids and STILL wants more money to not do so!
hmmm... maybe ours is number 1 already!
gooo government! woof woof woof woof

bubbasauce
21102
Points
bubbasauce 01/21/14 - 07:16 am
7
2
Yes pretty sad isn't it? Wait

Yes pretty sad isn't it? Wait till another three years is up. You ain't seen anything yet!

GACopprhed
2136
Points
GACopprhed 01/21/14 - 08:02 am
0
0
ymnbde, you never offer any
Unpublished

ymnbde, you never offer any data to substantiate any of the "out there" claims you continuously make, and your outrageous misstatement "blatantly does not educate black kids as well as white kids" fails to identify the political party who cuts money to education, came up with "No Child Left Behind" or instituted charter schools to intentionally continue segregation by removing more funding from public schools.

dichotomy
33500
Points
dichotomy 01/21/14 - 09:52 am
5
2
"It should alarm us all to

"It should alarm us all to have America’s economic ranking sandwiched unceremoniously between countries such as Estonia and Bahrain."

It won't be long before our standard of living will be down around the same place. The "poor" in this country ain't seen nothing yet. The Democrats are fixing to show them what poor really is. There isn't much welfare in a collapsed economy.

Bizkit
32130
Points
Bizkit 01/21/14 - 10:22 am
3
2
I know Obama is celebrating

I know Obama is celebrating because we are no longer number one and he doesn't have to apologize anymore. His agenda for "change" is working as he planned. With Iran's recent diplomatic victory our international standing has dropped too. Despite the decline of racism in America with the election and re-election of Obama, Obama blames his decline in popularity on racism-isn't that revealing "his" problem with racism. Obama is turning America into Bizarro world where everything is the exact opposite of what it use to be.

corgimom
33161
Points
corgimom 01/21/14 - 10:27 am
1
9
The Index of Economic

The Index of Economic Freedom? Really? By the Heritage Foundation?

Well, I guess I won't be losing any sleep over this.

Bizkit
32130
Points
Bizkit 01/21/14 - 10:45 am
6
1
Corgi I guess you are right

Corgi I guess you are right we can't trust any info from NY times, Washington Post, Daily KOS, NPR, CNN, FOX, etc because they are all jaded. Now it is all misinformation because the new standard is it's OK to lie about anything-because lying isn't wrong, immoral, etc it's just another form of communication. I mean if the last two presidents can get away with it then everyone should be able too. Christie should be given a free pass because he can explain everything with lies -just like Obama. This teaches our children that it is OK to lie-just like Clinton taught them that oral sex isn't really sex. Wow such role models.

deestafford
27840
Points
deestafford 01/21/14 - 11:11 am
3
2
Obama is unlearned, educated, ignorant and smart...

Obama is unlearned, educated, ignorant, and smart. He knows little about history and economics and what he does know is not true. If he and other leftists read and understood history and economic history, they would know that all their "new" collective ideas have been tried in the past and have all failed.

Why do politicians keep doing the same thing century after century? The answer is as old as man---the quest for power over others. Our cohort of statists in Washington, DC think they are so smart that they and only they know what is best for the other 300 million of us.

One would think that being in academia one would be learned in history but unfortunately too many, especially those in the liberal arts, have studied the wrong examples in history and taken away the wrong lessons. These ignorants are filling the young head fulls of mush with the same putrid ideas they have swallowed and they will become leaders and perpetuate the poor eras of collectivism.

Bizkit
32130
Points
Bizkit 01/21/14 - 12:39 pm
3
2
Funny all the problems that

Funny all the problems that follow Obama are called phony scandals, yet the hint of problems with Christie are treated as a major scandal which will end his political career. Too funny-the precedent has been set there are no more scandals-just another phony scandal. I can see Hilary and Chris standing at the podium trying to explain each scandal-you can bet Chris will muster some fake anger and repeat "what difference does it make now!" and Hilary will mock his brutish style. Should be hilarious-like watching Monty Python.

Bizkit
32130
Points
Bizkit 01/21/14 - 12:45 pm
4
2
I predict the elections of

I predict the elections of the future will be a battle between the "have's" and "the wanna take what you have's". Rep will continue to protect any vested wealth and the Dems to take it from them to feed their voting populace. A formula for disaster in the long run. Dems have been skilled using social issues (most I agree) to gather support so they then can follow their more radical personal agenda of socioeconomic change. I know plenty of liberals who love his social agenda but have been put off by his economic policy, and his deceit. But once the social reforms run thin-legalize pot and likely all drugs, gay marriage, etc, the only thing they have left is economic which polls indicate most voters find Dems have little support.

d1zmljqg
936
Points
d1zmljqg 01/21/14 - 02:56 pm
2
3
From the comments

I better understand why SC and GA rank 38th and 39th in America's Smartest Kids by looking in

http://xfinity.comcast.net/slideshow/news-stateswithsmartestkids/

whose results were determined by:

"So The Daily Beast decided to use this enormous amount of consistent data to try to figure out which states are collectively doing the best job educating their kids. The methodology for this list was created with guidance from a half dozen of the nation’s leading education research experts, and relied heavily on the research of Bert Stoneberg, NAEP State Coordinator for Idaho.

They measured the percent of students who, for the 2009 results, scored at an advanced level or higher for 4th grade math, 8th grade math, 4th grade reading, and 8th grade reading. As a second component, they then took each state one by one, determining the number of states that performed better and worse at a statistically significant level, and averaging those figures."

deestafford
27840
Points
deestafford 01/21/14 - 03:08 pm
3
2
d1zm..Did that study break out the results...

d1zm, Did that study break out the results by race? How did the cities of Detroit, Chicago, New York, Newark, DC, Cleveland, and LA make out on those studies? When you break out those who think getting an education is "acting white" you'll see much difference in the studies. When you look at those studies you will see the higher the black student population the worse the state ranking. In LA and some other cities it's not the black population but the Hispanic population which drags the rankings down. Also, break out the studies by gender and you will see some correlations among races.

I could be called racist because of the above but the statistics will bear me out. It's not color but culture and value of education. It's not amount of money spent either because some of the lowest ranking states/cities/districts spend the most per child on education. DC spends more per child than any city in the country and ranks at the bottom.

Bizkit
32130
Points
Bizkit 01/21/14 - 03:35 pm
3
1
If you look at IQ the highest

If you look at IQ the highest is in the New England followed by West-North Central. The lowest is East Atlantic and West-South Central.
New England: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont (1st, 101.0)
Middle Atlantic: New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania (3rd, 99.5)
East North Central: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin (6th, 98.8)
West North Central: Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota (2nd, 100.1)
South Atlantic: Delaware, DC, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia (8th, 95.6)
East South Central: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee (9th, 93.9)
West South Central: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas (7th, 96.1)
Mountain: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming (5th, 98.9)
Pacific: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington (4th, 99.1)
Populations in states aren't static-they shift Texas I bet has had a major boost in IQ with all the Californians who have moved there hee,hee,hee.
The study isn't divided by race-which there are lots of published studies and one book that indicate asians, white, hispanics, and then blacks hierarchy of IQ. I personally don't believe in those comparisons but they are published. I think IQ correlates more with the type of industry and jobs-the South has been historically agriculture. Note areas with high hispanic populations are not lowered in their average IQ, nor the concentration of blacks in the South explain the difference with lower IQ in South. If Georgia became an industrial or "techy" state the population would shift and I bet the IQ too. Take the IQ around in cities with major universities and compare to same size cities without and note the difference.

Bizkit
32130
Points
Bizkit 01/21/14 - 04:08 pm
3
1
The black vote had absolutely

The black vote had absolutely no effect on the 2012 election because if you look at the population of blacks by State the vast majority of those state supported Romney-so their vote wasn't in noted. Virginia and DC both went Obama and they have large black population, but most of the states heavily populated with blacks went for Romney. So Obama was elected by a majority of whites-hispanics. Strange if you examine demographics of population vs state voting.

KSL
131273
Points
KSL 01/21/14 - 05:34 pm
3
2
White guilt?

White guilt?

d1zmljqg
936
Points
d1zmljqg 01/21/14 - 05:47 pm
2
2
It would be interesting

to remove all the stifling economic constraints, repeal Medicare and ACA then see if "Trickle Down" would indeed be properly redressed.

d1zmljqg
936
Points
d1zmljqg 01/21/14 - 05:59 pm
2
2
Bizkit

In "America's Smartest Kids" CA ranked below GA and SC at 40 and TX came in at 34, so I don't think TX wants the California mix. btw Massachusetts was 1, Vermont 2, (couple of others) Louisiana 19, LA 47, Mississippi last.

Bizkit
32130
Points
Bizkit 01/21/14 - 06:20 pm
3
1
Yes I've seen another ranking

Yes I've seen another ranking that had California lower than Georgia. The public schools in the US are a dismal failure and seem to have gotten worse rather than better. We have had great colleges and universities in the US-in fact the best-but I see colleges adopting some of the same failing policies as public schools and things could decay rapidly.

RichmanA2
126
Points
RichmanA2 01/21/14 - 07:05 pm
2
3
What is actually being ignored
Unpublished

is the Fraser Institute, who also released their annual Economic Freedom report, and they released real numbers along with it. They rate the US as "Most Free". http://www.freetheworld.com/2013/EFW2013-complete.pdf
For those that don't know, the Fraser Institute is a conservative think tank that is actually conservative and not a think tank that releases bogus information to try and back up their buying of our government.

......truth is power.

deestafford
27840
Points
deestafford 01/21/14 - 09:09 pm
2
1
Rich, Thanks for the citation...

Thanks for the citation. In reading it I noticed the US was rated not #12 as it was in the Heritage ranking but rated....#17! That's even worse.

scoopdedoop64
2395
Points
scoopdedoop64 01/21/14 - 09:31 pm
3
2
The Bad Economy is just 1 of God's Judgements Against Us

@corgimom, you say that you are not going to lose sleep because you don't trust the Heritage Foundation. You don't have to. Go check out all of the other liberal news agencies reporting the same thing. You should lose sleep as well as all of us. This is terrible information and it doesn't matter what side of the political fence you are on.

I love my country and it grieves me to see it fall from such a giant to what it has become. I don't think we are ever going to overcome our economic and moral deficiencies. America's greatest days are forever in the past unless we repent of our sin and turn back to the God of the Bible and seek God's forgiveness for so many sins such as: removing Him from every school house and courthouse in America, for killing babies in the millions, for the way people treat one another with such hatred, for exchanging the natural matrimony of marriage between a man and a woman to man with man and woman with woman, etc. The list could go on forever but these are the main ones and this nation's economy is just one of God's judgements for our sin. No, I don't expect many to do much but laugh at my statements and the result is that this nation will continue to suffer because of it.

stuaby
4060
Points
stuaby 01/21/14 - 09:38 pm
2
1
@Bizkit @11:45A

Interesting prediction. If you subtract gay-this&that zealots, pro-abortion zealots, dope zealots, enviro zealots, and freaks, then were pretty much there already.

RichmanA2
126
Points
RichmanA2 01/21/14 - 09:55 pm
1
0
There are well over twenty
Unpublished

There are well over twenty five pages of data explaining why they rank the U.S. so low, yet rate it as the "most free". You would've noticed that had you gone past page four.

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