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There is no greater freedom than that to be able to support oneself. To either exchange ones work for pay or to create goods and services for which one is fully compensated is a right upon which all other rights are based. What does freedom to worship or not mean to the starving? The answer is self-evident as should be the right of economic freedom. Economic freedom though not mentioned in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, is woven into their very fabric. There cannot be a pursuit of happiness without the means to do so nor do printing presses run on dreams.
There is no better indicator of whether a person will be born in poverty or not than how much economic freedom their homeland enjoys. Infant mortality rates, malnourishment, disease, environmental damage and healthcare are all effected by the amount of economic freedom people have. Interestingly enough those countries that lack economic freedom are likely to suffer other losses of liberty as well. Knowing this the present direction of the U.S. should be alarming to all who value the American way of life.
Economic freedom, although the most fundamental of all freedoms, is also the one most in danger of being lost. It was the economic freedom, fostered in a young country called the United States, that led it to be the most prosperous nation the world has ever known. Now all of what has been accomplished over the last two hundred years is being put at risk. The fact is each year the U.S. is seeing its ranking in terms of economic freedom fall.
Each year the U.S. is slipping down the rungs of economic freedom. Each step down is a step closer to increased poverty and despair. Even now the United States is experiencing slow economic growth and stubbornly high unemployment as a result of a decline in economic freedom. There are two main rankings of economic freedom, the United States ranks differently in each but the trend in both is the same, a steady decline.
The Heritage Foundation ranking has the U.S. falling to tenth in the world. A position that it calls mostly free but not fully. The Fraser Institute, using a much more exhaustive methodology than the Heritage Foundation, ranks America nineteenth in the world. In both of these studies the economic freedom rankings have seen significant drops since 2009. The reasons are are simple: regulation, changes in the law and unsound monetary policy.
In President Obama’s first term the number of new regulations were not essentially greater in number than his predecessors but they were far more intrusive and costly. Presently the Obama administration is quickening their pace of new regulations. Each of these comes at a cost in economic freedom. To American businesses the present regulatory climate could best be described as death by a thousand cuts. Sometimes the economic damage is quick and obvious like the shuttering of coal plants but most times the damage is cumulative. Slowly bleeding the life out of businesses so that when they die few realize what the real culprit is. The regulatory knife the present administration is wielding is insidious, hidden and unstoppable. The agencies that are creating the regulations operate in bureaucratic darkness; out of site of the public or even congressional over site.
Congress for its part is not off the hook for contributing to Americas decline in economic freedom. Two new laws passed by congress during Obama’s first two years have contributed massively to America’s declining economic fortunes. The Draconian Dodd-Frank bill, supported and signed by the President, is about to shut down thousands of small banks. The aftermath of this weapon of mass financial destruction will be an America essentially reliant on a few, to-big-to-fail, mega-banks. The administration’s great signature achievement, ObamaCare, is the other law passed by congress that is acting as a great economic wrecking ball. It alone is estimated to cost the U.S. at least 800,000 jobs, a number that looks to be low. It is also forcing businesses across the country to reduce millions of workers from full time to part time work. The fact is Obamacare’s impact on businesses is so great and so extensive it is a subject more appropriately covered in a tome than any single article or blog.
Finally, as if all of that was not enough, the monetary and fiscal policies of the United States has the whole world spooked and has even led to downgrades in the countries credit rating. Massive debts with no real plans to address the spending at the heart of problem continues to cloud America’s future. Add to that a Federal reserve whose answer to all problems is low interest rates and overtaxing the printing presses, a strategy that works to undermine the savings and investment the financial system relies on.
The present course of the United States seems to be one of economic suicide. The facts are clear and the ramifications of undermining a country’s economic freedom can be seen in countries across the globe. Still the course is being left unaltered, the pleas of the business community and the millions of unemployed unheeded. They question one might ask is why?
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