That’s right. We are seeing a broad long-term trend that is leaving us both less free and poorer as a nation, writes Cato’s Michael Tanner.
As recently as 2009, we were still in the top ten. Now we are tucked between Lithuania and Malta. The top four positions are held by traditional free-market economies Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, and Switzerland. But Americans may be shocked to know that Canada finishes at number five. We may love to make fun of our neighbor to the north. But they are increasingly moving in the right direction, while we are becoming less free. Other countries that beat us now, include Ireland, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Chile.
Some key issues?
- Size of government—78th. For all the talk about European socialism, the U.S. has a bigger government than much of Europe.
- Regulation—8th. Yes better, but we’ve fallen from 2nd in the 2003
- Free Trade—60th. The U.S. is hardly a bastion of free trade. (Mexico comes in at 67th place.)
- The Soundness of the Dollar—40th, down from 1st in 2005 for monetary soundness.
“In 2000, the United States ranked second in the world when it came to how free we were to buy and sell, to hire and fire, to run our businesses and conduct other economic activities free of government interference. “
The really bad news, Mr. Tanner points out, is that neither of the leading presidential candidates is likely to make things better. Hillary has never met a regulation that she doesn’t like. Trump says he will cut regulations, but he also wants to implement new regulations, such as paid sick and parental leave and a higher minimum wage.
The long-term trend is going to leave us both less free and poorer as a nation, a sad legacy to leave our children and grandchildren. Read more from Michael Tanner here.
Fraser Institute: The Benefits of Economic Freedom
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