In the 2016 Index of Economic Freedom, the United States is rated “mostly free.” All Americans would be helped by reductions in Washington’s red tape.
The land of the mostly free and the home of the brave.” That sounds wrong, and it is. But “mostly free” is how the U.S. economy rates in the recently released 2016 Index of Economic Freedom. This is bad news for Americans in general, and especially unfortunate for our poorest, most vulnerable citizens.
A joint research product of the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal, the Index measures the economic freedom of nations based on ten criteria, including the rule of law, size of government, regulatory efficiency, and market openness. These factors affect how easily Americans from Nebraska to New York can climb ladders of opportunity, start businesses, and make a better life for their families.
These are the things that really matter.
Nations such as Switzerland and Australia continue to rank among the ten freest economies in the world, while North Korea and Cuba remain on the bottom rungs — their citizens the victims of crippling economic repression.
The good news is that the average score for the 189 nations analyzed rose again this year. In other words, economic freedom overall advanced globally for the fourth year running.
The bad news: Economic freedom declined here in the United States. Our 2016 score is only 75.4 out of a possible 100 — well below the 80 points required to earn a “mostly free” rating. Indeed, the new score ties our previous worst — set in 1998. Put another way, all U.S. advances in economic freedom logged in the last 18 years have now been wiped out. As Americans, we shouldn’t have to settle for anything short of excellence — that’s not who we are.
America is exceptional because we are free. We are unique in history because we haven’t stood in line to ask a king, a court, or a bureaucracy for our freedoms. We have invented and invested, collaborated, and created great products, businesses, and services without government micromanagement.
Continue reading below…