We’ve never been sold on The Heritage Foundation like some “conservatives” are, but the think tank’s “Index of Economic Freedom” is a worthwhile project.
Released each year in conjunction with The Wall Street Journal, the index assesses how 186 nations perform on ten key metrics – ranging from property rights to the rule of law to tax rates to entrepreneurship.
According to the latest data, the United States scored a 75.5 on the index – down half a point from 2013. This drop was “primarily due to deteriorations in property rights, fiscal freedom, and business freedom.”
That puts America in the “mostly free,” category … which is something worth remembering whenever you hear this country referred to as the “land of the free.”
“Over the 20-year history of the Index, the U.S.’s economic freedom has fluctuated significantly,” Heritage notes. “During the first 10 years, its score rose gradually, and it joined the ranks of the economically “free” in 2006. Since then, it has suffered a dramatic decline of almost 6 points, with particularly large losses in property rights, freedom from corruption, and control of government spending. The U.S. is the only country to have recorded a loss of economic freedom each of the past seven years. The overall U.S. score decline from 1995 to 2014 is 1.2 points, the fourth worst drop among advanced economies.”
Disappointing … although we’re surprised the deterioration isn’t worse.