The Heritage Foundation unveiled its 2017 Index of Economic Freedom this week. Unsurprisingly, the U.S. fell in rank with respect to economic freedom–yet again.
When former President Obama took office in 2009, the United States ranked sixth on the economic freedom scale. Today, our nation holds the 17th spot–below the Baltic Republic of Lithuania (which is tremendously bouncing back after Soviet communism).
What best explains the U.S.’s continual fall from grace with respect to economic freedom? Heritage Foundation notes the increase in government spending, regulations, and failed 2009 stimulus program as contributing factors.
Here’s the methodology behind their rankings:
Since 1995, the index has measured a nation’s commitment to limited government and free enterprise on a scale of 0 to 100 by evaluating four critical policy pillars, including rule of law and regulatory efficiency.
These commitments have powerful effects: Countries achieving higher levels of economic freedom consistently and measurably outperform others in economic growth, long-term prosperity, and social progress. Those losing freedom, on the other hand, risk economic stagnation, high unemployment, and deteriorating social conditions.
Here’s a video from them that explains why the U.S.’s economic freedom ranking depreciated so much under the Obama administration:
The Trump administration can seize the momentum they have to reverse course and promote free market policies that embolden Americans of all income brackets to succeed. How? Get regulatory agencies off the backs of Americans. (And shrink the size and scope of federal government too.)
While it’s amazing to see other nations embrace free enterprise, America should be leading the pack as we have historically done. Our nation should reclaim a place in the top ten spot, at minimum. It’s rather embarrassing we continue to slip. Nevertheless, there are many opportunities for the U.S. to bounce back.
To see where other countries stand on Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, go here. It’s a very nifty resource.