When President Obama took office in 2009, the United States ranked as the 6th best country in the world in terms of economic freedom. Now, in the last year of his term, the United States doesn’t even rank in the top ten anymore.
This year, the Index placed the United States as the 11th most economically free country. This is a significant loss. As noted by the Index, “Economic freedom is a crucial component of liberty. It empowers people to work, produce, consume, own, trade, and invest according to their personal choices.”
Five countries were ranked as “FREE”, meaning they scored 80-100% Those countries are: Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Australia.
Rounding out the top ten are: Canada (6), Chile (7), Ireland (8), Estonia (9), and the United Kingdom (10). With the United States ranking 11th, we have our worst score ever recorded. 8 of the last 9 years have seen losses of economic freedom; with this ranking, we have essentially lost a decade worth of economic prosperity progress.
“For much of human history, most individuals have lacked economic freedom and opportunity, condemning them to poverty and deprivation.
Today, we live in the most prosperous time in human history. Poverty, sicknesses, and ignorance are receding throughout the world, due in large part to the advance of economic freedom.
The Index analyzes 186 countries. Economic freedom is based on 10 quantitative and qualitative factors, grouped into four broad categories, or pillars, of economic freedom:
1) Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption);
2) Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending);
3) Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom); and
4) Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom).”
Only time will tell if we will regain our freedom or continue to lose it. Much depends on a new President and changes in Congress in 2016.