Due in large part to an explosion of government spending and less secure property rights, the United States plunged to its lowest ever ranking on the Economic Freedom of the World report, dropping from second place out of 144 nations in 2000 to a humiliating 18th in this year’s annual survey. The global average scores, meanwhile, actually increased slightly.
The study, conducted by the respected Canada-based Fraser Institute, measures more than 40 different variables related to economic freedom. Those are divided into five broad categories: size of government, legal system and security of property rights, access to sound money, freedom to trade internationally, and regulation of credit, labor, and business.
“The United States, like many nations, embraced heavy-handed regulation and extensive over-spending in response to the global recession and debt crises,” observed Fred McMahon, Fraser Institute vice-president of international policy research. “Consequently, its level of economic freedom has dropped.” And it is getting worse, fast.