This week, the Fraser Institute, a Canadian public policy think-tank, published its annual Economic Freedom of the World Report that analyzed economic freedom around the world and looked at 42 variables in five contributing areas: government size, legal system and property rights, sound money, regulations and international trade freedoms.
It essentially concluded that the United States has dropped 15 spots from second place in the year 2000 to No. 17 this year. Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand landed in first, second and third places, respectively. Congo, Myanmar and Venezuela were ranked dead last in economic freedom.
With the U.S. falling behind Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, one must be asking: how? How did the U.S., the beacon of liberty and economic freedom, decline in such a short time period? Well, it’s simple: the growth of government.
Over the past 13 years, the federal government as well as many state governments have grown so rapidly. Whether it’s the Patriot Act, Obamacare, quantitative easing, rising debt levels and many other pieces of legislation that grows the size of government, the American people should be wary at more proposals that just increases the size and scope of government.
As Groucho Marx once said: “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” Truer words regarding government and politicians were never spoken.
This report coincides with another troubling finding. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, middle-class families today make less than middle-class families 25 years ago, towards the end of the Reagan administration: a middle-class family in 1989 earned $51,681, while a middle-class family in 2012 earned $51,017 (both figures adjusted for inflation).
A lot analysts, pundits and public officials like to lay blame on the private sector, corporate profits and so-called greed for the lack of growth among the middle-class, but can these elements be blamed? The government is taxing the middle-class to oblivion, the Federal Reserve is devaluing the dollar and government policies are hurting small- and medium-sized businesses, which then cannot expand or maintain its present workforce.