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A Thought on the Retreat of Economic Freedom

"The self-styled "land of the free" is not as free as it once was – or as we in the United States think of ourselves.

"But don't take my word for it.  The U.S. ranks 16th in the Fraser Institute's latest Economic Freedom of the World index – down from second in 2000.  Likewise, studies conducted by the Heritage Foundation reflect a "precipitous downward spiral in U.S. economic freedom since 2008."  This tumble from the top was inevitable, given the increasing government encroachments on private property rights, numerous government interventions, expansion of federal government spending and regulations, and consequent shrinking of the space for free economic exchange.  And now we are seeing the same downward trend at the state level, as the Fraser Institute's just-released Economic Freedom of North America report (EFNA 2015) reveals.  (EFNA 2015 is based on data from 2013, the most recent available.)

"As its name suggests, the Economic Freedom of North America report ranks and compares the levels of economic freedom across North America and within the U.S., Canada, and Mexico by measuring the size of government, taxation, regulation and labor market restrictions.  In the North America-wide index, the top three jurisdictions are Canadian provinces, with Alberta taking first place, British Columbia coming in second, and Saskatchewan tying for third with New Hampshire.  In EFNA 2010, by way of comparison, there was only one Canadian province in the top 47 jurisdictions measured.  In EFNA 2015, there are eight Canadian provinces in the top 42.

"In other words, it seems states are increasingly following D.C.'s lead by over-spending, over-taxing, over-subsidizing, over-regulating, and undercutting individual liberty.  As a result, many U.S. states are falling behind their Canadian neighbors in economic freedom, just as the U.S. is falling behind its global neighbors."

~ Alan W. Down, Senior Fellow, Fraser Institute

Source: his December 22, 2015 article, "The Retreat of Economic Freedom Continues," posted at American Thinker.

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