Canada, Chile Now Economically Freer Than U.S.
Washington -- Economic freedom around the world remains on the rise but it has declined notably in the U.S. since the year 2000, according to the Economic Freedom of the World Report: 2008 Annual Report from the Cato Institute and Canada's Fraser Institute.
In 2000 the U.S. was the second-freest economy listed in Economic Freedom of the World, an annual report written by James Gwartney from Florida State University and Robert Lawson from Auburn University. This year the U.S. has fallen to 8th place, behind Hong Kong (ranked in first place), Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Chile, and Canada.
More significant than the U.S.'s drop in the rankings is its fall in the freedom ratings: on a scale of 0-10, the U.S. fell from 8.55 in 2000 to 8.04. Only five countries have experienced a greater decline over the same time period: Zimbabwe, Argentina, Niger, Venezuela, and Guyana.
"The rule of law, government spending, and regulation are the areas where the United States saw the most troubling declines in its ratings this decade," observes Ian Vasquez, director of Cato's Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity.
MP: These ratings are for the year 2006, the most recent year for which comprehensive data are available (see top 20 most free countries above). What's going to happen to America's Economic Freedom rating when: a) the recent government takeover of Fannie and Freddie, b) the current proposal for a $700 billion bailout of the U.S. financial markets, c) the $85 billion AIG bailout, and d) the $25 billion in loans for the Detroit Three, are all accounted for?
Listen to Cato's Will Wilkinson's comments on NPR about now Canada, even with its socialized medical system, now ranks higher than the U.S. in its degree of overall economic freedom.