Wednesday, October 13, 2010

John Stossel: Freer Is Better

Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that the liberal quest for the minds of the populist is not altruistic, but a quest for power and control. As our society rapidly sinks into the abyss called "socialism", it is our freedom that is at stake.

This article by John Stossel, based on the Index developed by the Heritage Foundation for the WSJ, shows that the US, once the freest nation on Earth, is now ranked 8th. We may still be the "home of the brave", but we are no longer the "land of the free".

The 2010 Index of Economic Freedom lowers the ranking of the United States to eighth out of 179 nations -- behind Canada! A year ago, it ranked sixth, ahead of Canada.

Don't say it's Barack Obama's fault. Half the data used in the index is from George W. Bush's final six months in office. This is a bipartisan problem.

For the past 16 years, the index has ranked the world's countries on the basis of their economic freedom -- or lack thereof. Ten criteria are used: freedoms related to business, trade, fiscal matters, monetary matters, investment, finance, labor, government spending, property rights and freedom from corruption.

The top 10 countries are: Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Switzerland, Canada, the United States, Denmark and Chile.

The bottom 10: Republic of Congo, Solomon Islands, Turkmenistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, Venezuela, Burma, Eritrea, Cuba, Zimbabwe and North Korea.

The index demonstrates what we libertarians have long said: Economic freedom leads to prosperity. Also, the best places to live and fastest-growing economies are among the freest, and vice versa. A society will be materially well off to the extent its people have the liberty to acquire property, start businesses, and trade in a secure legal and political environment.

Why is the United States falling behind? "Our spending has been excessive. ... We have the highest corporate tax rate in the world. (Government) takeovers of industries, subsidizing industries ... these are the kinds of moves that happen in Third World countries. ..."

Beach adds that the rule of law declined when the Obama administration declared some contracts to be null and void. For example, bondholders in the auto industry were forced to the back of the creditor line during bankruptcy. And there's more regulation of business, such as the Dodd-Frank law for the financial industry and the new credit-card law. But how could the United States place behind Canada? Isn't Canada practically a socialist country?

"Canada might do health care the wrong way," Beach said, "but by and large they do things the right way." Lately, Canada has lowered tax rates and reduced spending.

If we want to reverse America's decline, we'd better get to work. There's a lot of government to cut.

Read full article here.

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