Dramatic Collapse of US Freedom Ranking Under Obamarx

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Thu, 2012-09-20 05:11

Folk here know I set little store by the indices for economic freedom touted by various think tanks, some of which have ludicrously awarded PLAB*-NZ gold medals in the past, but I've no doubt there are sound empirical reasons for the drop in America's place from 10th in 2011 (measuring data up to 2009) to 18th this year (up to 2010) in the Cato/Fraser rankings:


The reasons can no doubt be distilled into one term: "Obamarx," subsuming the avalanche of regulations, the mountains of debt, the war on coal and oil, the cronyism, the de facto nationalizations (including medicine), the rampaging Nanny Statism perpetrated by The Filth as part of his agenda to "fundamentally transform" America. PLAB-NZ is ranked third.

Global economic freedom bounced back slightly in this year's report. After falling for two consecutive years following a long trend of increases, the average score rose from 6.79 in 2009 to 6.83 in 2010, the most recent year for which data is available. In this year's index, Hong Kong retains the highest rating for economic freedom, 8.90 out of 10 (down slightly from 9.01 last year). The rest of this year's top scores are Singapore, 8.69; New Zealand, 8.36; Switzerland, 8.24; Australia, 7.97; Canada, 7.97; Bahrain, 7.94; Mauritius, 7.90. Finland, 7.88; and Chile, 7.84. Bahrain and Finland are new to the top 10 — replacing, notably, the United Kingdom (fell to 12th) and the United States (a sizable drop to 18th).

The United States, long considered the standard bearer for economic freedom among large industrial nations, has experienced a substantial decline in economic freedom during the past decade. From 1980 to 2000, the United States was generally rated the third freest economy in the world, ranking behind only Hong Kong and Singapore. After increasing steadily during the period from 1980 to 2000, the chain linked EFW rating of the United States fell from 8.65 in 2000 to 8.21 in 2005 and 7.70 in 2010. The chain-linked ranking of the United States has fallen precipitously from second in 2000 to eighth in 2005 and 19th in 2010 (unadjusted ranking of 18th).

The rankings (and scores) of other large economies in this year's index are Japan, 20th (7.64); Germany, 31st (7.52); France, 47th (7.32); Italy, 83rd (6.77); Mexico, 91st, (6.66); Russia, 95th (6.56); Brazil, 105th (6.37); China, 107th (6.35); and India, 111th (6.26).

*Pathetic Little Authoritarian Backwater

Obama shrugs, but the debt keeps mounting

Marcus's picture

Ironic headline, but a damn good one! This is result of brain dead America walking into oblivion as they just focus on trivia.

Obama shrugs, but the debt keeps mounting

A fiscal horror is unfolding on the president’s watch, yet few seem concerned , writes Jeff Randall.

"For those of us who admire the United States and are hoping it will rediscover economic virtue and the road to recovery, last week was particularly unsettling. Both sides in the fight for the White House displayed an ignorance of fiscal issues more usually associated with contestants in a pub quiz. It was intriguing, however, that while Mitt Romney’s blunder made headlines across the globe, Barack Obama’s seemed not to disturb America’s mainstream media and went largely unreported beyond the US. The difference was that, whereas Mitt Romney impugned the integrity of millions of fellow citizens, dismissing 47 per cent of them as scroungers, the president merely insulted the nation’s collective intelligence – and almost no one seemed to care.

Romney’s observation was ridiculous: his group of alleged entitlement junkies includes pensioners, students, the disabled, many serving in the military and those on incomes too low to be taxed. For this, he was rightly pasted. By contrast, aside from the opprobrium of professional budget-watchers and diehard opponents, the man in charge of the world’s biggest economy emerged virtually unscathed from his casual confession on CBS that he did not know how much the US owes. It was a triumph of style over substance.

Asked by David Letterman on The Late Show to explain all those zeros on America’s debt clock, displayed at the Republicans’ convention, Obama replied: “I don’t remember what the number was, precisely.” Offering the president a clue, the veteran chat-show host suggested “about $10 trillion”, at which point Obama switched effortlessly to praising the budget surplus of Bill Clinton and sailed off to safety. It’s not as though America’s debt is a minor twinkle in a constellation of more serious problems. But not only was the president unable to recall the big number, he readily – perhaps deliberately – conflated the debt and the deficit.

For the record, US debt hit $5 trillion under Clinton, even though, to his credit, the 1999 federal budget was $76 billion in surplus. Not since Andrew Jackson, in 1835, has America been debt-free. A cynical man might conclude that Mr Obama knew all these details, but found dissembling a more convenient route out of trouble than discussing the fiscal horror that has unfolded on his watch.

The White House website boldly claims: “President Obama has led the way on structuring the government to live within its means.” This is not even remotely true. By any measure, the US continues to spend way above its income and, as a result, its debt position is deteriorating apace."

The US was ranked 2nd in the

Scott Wilson's picture

The US was ranked 2nd in the world in 2000, 15th by 2009, so the Bush Administration (and Congress) bears a decent chunk of the blame as well.

In the sub categories it looks bleak too...

On size of government it is now ranked 73rd, it was 24th in 1990. The slide since then has been fairly continuous, albeit a ranking position slide also reflects the fact that all of eastern Europe suddenly surged forward in the 1990s, though that is only a small part of the effect.

On freedom to trade internationally it has been slipping pretty much since 1980. 7th then, 57th now.

On levels of regulation, the US was ranked 2nd in 2000, but had slid to 24th in 2009 and is now 31st, again that was the Bush Administration.

Now such rankings and measures are based on a lot of subjective estimates, but the overall picture is bleak. The US has been on a downward trend for the last 30 or so years, which has been exacerbated by the latest Bush and Obama Administrations.

The UK story is similar, although it's notable that the slippage particularly occurred in the Blair/Brown years.

Pretty much the best story out of any of the territories assessed is Hong Kong - solidly near the top on almost all ratings.



Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Unfortunately that new freedom rating for America seems about right. Sad I think Freedom House concurs with Cato.


Marcus's picture

...the fall in the UK ranking was not even a story over here.

The liberal media might be worried it would be a signal for the UK government to start yet another round of reforms in regulation. I wonder if it took into account already the UK removing health and safety inspections for small to medium businesses, allowing shops to start up without planning permission and making it easier to fire employees?

I see that PC was peeved that NZ ranked so high in property rights. He wrote something like, yeah right tell that to Christchurch business owners you assholes!

I could add tell that to non-Maori without the ability to call a hui and shake their witch doctor sticks over a piece of ground declaring it off limits until they get a pay out.

It is pretty easy...

Ross Elliot's picture

...to do business in NZ.

But that is changing as we now have licensing of all sorts as regards businesses, especially at the local level. The state never sleeps, like rust.

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