The index shows America’s economic freedom declining for the seventh year in a row, pushing it out of the top 10 freest economies in the world, just behind Estonia and just ahead of Bahrain.
Said Nathaniel Ward, writing at My Heritage:
The United States, with an economic score of 75.5, is [now] the 12th freest economy.… Its score is half a point lower than last year, primarily due to deteriorations in property rights, fiscal freedom, and business freedom….
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 growth of government has been accompanied by increasing cronyism that has undermined the rule of law and perceptions of fairness.
The index measures performance in 10 categories, including fiscal freedom (a measure of the tax burden imposed by the government on its citizens) and government spending (which measures spending compared to the country’s economic output). In both of those, the United States’ score has fallen precipitously, to 65.8 in fiscal freedom (compared to the world average of 77.3), and to 48.1 in government spending (compared to the world’s 62.7). By way of comparison, Hong Kong, which has been rated first in the index for 20 years, scored 90.1 overall, and had a 93.0 on fiscal freedom and 89.7 on government spending.
The world economy, however, according to the index, is doing just great. The global economy has grown by nearly 70 percent over the past 20 years, from $32 trillion in 1993 to $54 trillion in 2012, raising hundreds of millions from poverty and improving living standards across the globe.
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