USA no longer in the world’s top 10

We all want a certain level of economic prosperity, which also is the only bridge for the poor out of poverty.

To have economic prosperity, we have to have a basic level of rule of law.  There must be some regulation from government.

How much is too much? Not enough?

I think we are finding out, as the State in these USA inexorably snuff out economic prosperity.

Here is a piece in the Wall Street Journal:

America’s Dwindling Economic Freedom
Regulation, taxes and debt knock the U.S. out of the world’s top 10.

World economic freedom has reached record levels, according to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, released Tuesday by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. But after seven straight years of decline, the U.S. has dropped out of the top 10 most economically free countries.

For 20 years, the index has measured a nation’s commitment to free enterprise on a scale of 0 to 100 by evaluating 10 categories, including fiscal soundness, government size and property rights. 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. Botswana, for example, has made gains through low tax rates and political stability.

Those losing freedom, on the other hand, risk economic stagnation, high unemployment and deteriorating social conditions. For instance, heavy-handed government intervention in Brazil’s economy continues to limit mobility and fuel a sense of injustice.

It’s not hard to see why the U.S. is losing ground. Even marginal tax rates exceeding 43% cannot finance runaway government spending, which has caused the national debt to skyrocket. The Obama administration continues to shackle entire sectors of the economy with regulation, including health care, finance and energy. The intervention impedes both personal freedom and national prosperity.

But as the U.S. economy languishes, many countries are leaping ahead, thanks to policies that enhance economic freedom—the same ones that made the U.S. economy the most powerful in the world. Governments in 114 countries have taken steps in the past year to increase the economic freedom of their citizens. Forty-three countries, from every part of the world, have now reached their highest economic freedom ranking in the index’s history.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. mrshopey says:

    This doesn’t surprise me. I hope those at the USCCB are taking note as one correspondence on The World Over (I think Carr) indicated that the USA was still a prosperous county (in response to Pope’s call to help poor). My mouth dropped open and all I could utter was…..”huh?” How many trillions of dollars in debt do you have to be before you are no longer prosperous?!

  2. The Masked Chicken says:

    “according to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, released Tuesday by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal.”

    Oh, please. More pseudo-science. Has their, “Index,” been peer-reviewed? You can generate an index for anything. This one just seems to coincide with a particular political point of view. I have no opinions about the politics. I am just saying that this is cargo cult science.

    The Chicken

  3. Phil_NL says:

    Dear Masked Chicken,

    You can get pretty much anything published, peer-reviewed and all, if you shop for the right journal. That doesn’t mean much either.
    And while you do can create an index for nearly anything, if you keep your methodology roughly the same of the years, a change in the ranking will say something about the changes of the inputs relative to the other countries being ranked. Heritage uses input variables that are measurable to a fair extent (tax rates, time it takes to set up a company etc). While you can manipulate it (and frankly, I doubt Heritage does) it definitely isn’t “cargo cult science”.

    And last but not least: it would be hard to argue that increased EPA regs and mandatory health insurance increase economic freedom – you don’t need to manipulate anything at all for the conclusion they have drawn.

  4. jhayes says:

    Please note that the top-rated country in this index is Hong Kong.

    You can see the complete report HERE

    You can get any result you want if you can choose the measures you think are important. This index uses ten measures, none of which seem to have anything to do with Catholic Social Teaching.

    So the message is “U.S. No Longer in Top Ten as Measured by Values the Heritage Foundation Thinks Are Important.”

  5. JacobWall says:

    The old Commonwealth has a firm presence at the top of the list. I think I like the direction of Canada, Australia and New Zealand these days. Should it be surprising that Hong Kong tops the list?

  6. tcreek says:

    The Index of Economic Freedom has been published by the Heritage Foundation for 20 years. It indexes “Freedom” by 11 categories for all countries of the world and displays the results on a world map. Very interesting.
    The United States does very well except for the categories, “Government Spending” and “Fiscal Freedom”. During Obama’s first campaign he pledged to “fundamentally change the country”. He is succeeding monetarily and morally.

  7. The Masked Chicken says:

    “And while you do can create an index for nearly anything, if you keep your methodology roughly the same of the years, a change in the ranking will say something about the changes of the inputs relative to the other countries being ranked.”

    Maybe, but not necessarily what you, the collector of data and formulator of the Index thinks it says according to your model. History is replete with accidental correlations, especially in multi-dimensional systems. This ranking is not a bar graph, it is a vector space. In my opinion, this is not good science, but it is what passes for good science in many soft sciences. Again, I make no comment on any political implications, but the whole concept of economic freedom depends on how one defines freedom and what economic model one assumes. In, Brave New World or Fahrenheit 451, freedom would have been defined as the freedom not to think too much, especially about painful things.

    The Chicken

  8. Supertradmum says:

    Americans need to travel. Many are so narrow-minded about American greatness, and do not see the larger world and the freedoms in many other countries. I could see the apathy here when I came back just before Thanksgiving and the denial of the erosion of many, many freedoms. Most Americans are living in la-la land about the greatness of this country, which was there, but is being sold down river. Just read de Tocqueville.

  9. Jim Dorchak says:

    I was happy to see Chile (where I have moved my family) is #7 on the list. Oh and it is also freer and safer here too. Not to mention that homosexuality is still illegal here and still is a sin here as well, and abortion is also illegal and still a sin.
    When I hear from my friends in South Carolina (one in law enforcement) about the requirement to remove all Christian items from their offices, so as not to offend, and their new sensitivity training for the religiously homosexual work place, I do not miss the USA.
    On a side note, it sure is great to have off religious holidays as national holidays here in Chile as well. Don’t worry though I am sure everything is getting better in the USA.

  10. RafqasRoad says:

    Jacob Wall at comment #5,

    Indeed!! Australia has been ranked third on the list!! The showing of Commonwealth nations is truly heartening; what a crying, crying shame that blody Brussells has all but hamstrung said Commonwealth re migration etc. in favour of the EU; what narrow minded lack of vision as the evidence is clearly before us with Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Canada and NZ firmly planted on the list, alongside various emerging nations economy-wise.

    Pray for Australia as we are adopting far too much from the US re attitudes towards the Anti Christian agenda (if ABC’s programming for this coming Monday night is anything to go by ) and the like, but thankfully have pockets of firm Christian resistance be it in the Sydney Diocese of the Catholic Church, the Maronite Eparchate of Australia and our brothers & sisters of good will in the Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church – these are not limp-wristed pro-hsxual ‘no satan in the baptismal rite’ episcopaleans but robust Bible believers with a large dose of Calvinism thrown in – think GAFCON and you have the picture. Are there problems in our Catholic universities especially ACU? yes; big problems, but there are enough standing up to the rot and there were at least at the end of 2013 amazing priests as Tue and Thu campus chaplains and as campus ministry director at my campus who are young, orthodox and not swayed by ‘baffle ’em with bulldust’ academia. I did my part going toe to toe also, not without a few scrapes along the way for standing up for what I believed in re Catholic truth (post 2011 conversion) and Bible truth as an Evangelical Anglican before that. Pray for the kids going through; its one thing for us mature age students with our eyes firmly fixed upon Christ to weather the heterodox storms, but the youngsters…pray for them and for the Holy Spirit to reform faculties of theology and philosophy around the world in Catholic institutions.

    Much crammed into this comment that addresses issues in several of Fr. Z.’s posts, but I pray he will excuse this licence on my part.


    South Coast Catholic.

  11. RafqasRoad says:

    That should have been ‘OR ‘SydAngs’ in my commented listed as #11; no excuses for shoddy grammer.

    PS. Oh, and pray for a TLM and/or AO mass in the Shoal Haven of NSW!! PLEASE!!! Even once a month, would be such a treat.

    PPS. are there any from the Shoal Haven of NSW who read and comment here? How about from other regional and rural locations in NSW or wider Australia?

    PPPS. When’s Fr. Z. coming to Aus and offering a TLM in our gorgeous 150 year old church over the river?????????? My husband and I could billet you and would be happy to do so…treat you to some Aussie hospitality.

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