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US drops from top 10 economic freedom ranking

Published time: January 15, 2014 12:21
Reuters / Chip East

Reuters / Chip East

After seven years of continuous decline in the rating, the US has gone down to 12th place in the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom. The report says the US is the only country to show such a prolonged decline.

The falling ranking was primarily caused by large reductions in property rights, freedom from corruption, and increasing government spending, says the study.

Since President Obama first took office in 2009 the cost of meeting federal government regulations has increased by over $60 billion. Government spending is now over 40 percent of gross domestic product and the national debt has now ballooned to over 100 percent the size of the economy. Still the Obama administration continues to restrain entire sectors of the economy with regulation, including, finance, energy and health care.

Source: The Heritage Foundation

The index published by The Wall Street Journal and Washington’s No. 1 think tank The Heritage Foundation, evaluates a nation's commitment to free enterprise by evaluating 10 categories, including fiscal soundness, government size and property rights and giving a score from 0 to 100. The higher up the scoreboard a county is, the higher is its economic growth, long-term prosperity and social progress

The US scored 75.5. In comparison the leader Hong Kong scored 90.1, followed by Singapore, Australia, Switzerland and New Zealand. These are the only economic zones to earn the index's "economically free" designation.

Russia’s economic freedom score is 51.9, which puts its economy in 140th place, sandwiched between Tajikistan and Burundi. With improvements in four of the 10 economic freedoms, including control of government spending, counterbalanced by declines in trade freedom, freedom from corruption, and fiscal freedom the country's score was 0.8 points higher this year. Russia came in the “mostly unfree” category, ranked 41st out of 43 countries in the Europe region, and its overall score is below the world average.

Eighteen European nations, including Germany, Sweden, Georgia and Poland, have reached new highs in economic freedom. By contrast, five others - Greece, Italy, France, Cyprus and the United Kingdom obtained score below 20 years ago, when the rating appeared.

No surprise, the most improved players are in Eastern Europe, including Estonia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic. After living under communism there is no trouble recognizing the benefits of a free-market system.

Comments (17)


Paul TheVillain 20.01.2014 06:16

Way to go hong kong! New zeland anyone?


Ron Miller 16.01.2014 00:52

The following statement "Still the Obama administration continues to restrain entire sectors of the economy with regulation, including, finance, energy and health care. " is misleading. It is a lack of regulation that has caused the problems. The Casino game in New York and London is very dangerous for Banks, and should not be allowed. Any Financial institution that is keeping money on deposit for customers should not be risking it unless the depositors agree in advance they are prepared to take the risks. There is no room for Fraud which is wide spread, and must be JAILED, not fined.


Francisco Nunez-Perez 16.01.2014 00:20

Americans have not figured out yet!! Nobody has to freak'n work. All the jobs are leaving anyway, just sit back and let the government take care of everything. What you do not believe they make enough cash from the corporation to take care of every last person in the country?

View all comments (17)
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