The Declining Economic Freedom Of The United States

Tyler Durden's picture


The United States, long considered the standard bearer for economic freedom among large industrial nations, has experienced a remarkable plunge in economic freedom during the past decade. From 1980 to 2000, the US was generally rated the third freest economy in the world, ranking behind only Hong Kong and Singapore. The ranking of the US has fallen precipitously; from second in 2000 to eighth in 2005 and 19th in 2010. By 2009, the United States had fallen behind Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Chile, and Mauritius, countries that chose not to follow the path of massive growth in government financed by borrowing that is now the most prominent characteristic of US fiscal policy. By 2010, the United States had also fallen behind Finland and Denmark, two European welfare states. Moreover, it now trails Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Estonia, Taiwan, and Qatar. The Fraser Institute's massive volume on the Economic Freedom Of The World - based on the following five factors: Size of Government, Legal System & Property Rights, Sound Money, Freedom to Trade Internationally, and Regulation - covers 42 variables with the goal of quantifying the key ingredients of economic freedom.


The Economic Freedom Of The World...


With the US Ranked #18...


How the model is created...


and the US-specific rankings...


and the decade-long demise of US Economic Freedom...


EFW2012 Complete



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Tue, 09/25/2012 - 14:39 | 2828852 SilverDoctors
SilverDoctors's picture

Its all about mortgage debts. 

We All Belong to the Government Now


just wait till a few years of QEternity

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 14:50 | 2828914 Pladizow
Pladizow's picture

Land of the -------- and the home of the -----------?

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 14:53 | 2828929 MillionDollarBonus_
MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

Here we go again with deregulation for corporations and big shots. The world has had enough of TRICKLE DOWN ECONOMICS. For those who don't know, trickle down economics is a form of economics with a few rich corporations on the top, "trickling down" wealth to the poor masses on the bottom. It's an absolutely despicable form of economics, supported by libertarians, right-wingers and other heartless and sycophantic rich-wannabes. Libertarians are quite happy to simply let large corporations run wild and hammer the poor with expensive goods and low wages. I remember when I was offered a low wage job in my teens – I was absolutely shocked at the offer, and took it upon myself to report to the government that the company was not complying with minimum wage laws. Shortly after, the company was fined, and went bankrupt as a result. Businesses need to be taught a lesson about giving something back to the community and paying your fair share to the government and politicians. they can either do it the easy way, or the hard way. Makes no difference to me; either way these bastards need to pay. 

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 14:57 | 2828954 Pladizow
Pladizow's picture

Please dont feed the TROLL!

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 15:02 | 2828978 fuu
fuu's picture

I fed him yesterday, I apologize.

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 18:55 | 2830074 TwoShortPlanks
TwoShortPlanks's picture

Love to know the DeltaV for those figures...who's moving up and who's moving down, I think the rate is just as important.

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 15:14 | 2829053 avidtango
avidtango's picture

Please stop telling folks what libertarians would do!  Whenever you trot out an idea you dislike, it's accompanied by "libertarians want to " (fill in blank - starve old people, help greedy corporations, get more money, tear down schools, etc). If you can't make a valid argument without this canard then it's not much of an argument.  Saying "they" want to do bad things (for reasons unknown) is about as intellectually dishonest as it gets.

Have a nice day   

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 15:35 | 2829124 crusty curmudgeon
crusty curmudgeon's picture

Wow, what a tale.  I'm sure all those poor chumps were incredibly grateful to you for being unemployed instead of having to settle for less than what you think was fair wages.

Anyone who says that economic security is a human right, has been too much babied. While he babbles, other men are risking and losing their lives to protect him. They are fighting the sea, fighting the land, fighting disease and insects and weather and space and time, for him, while he chatters that all men have a right to security and that some pagan god – Society, The State, The Government, The Commune – must give it to them. Let the fighting men stop fighting this inhuman earth for one hour, and he will learn how much security there is.  Rose Wilder Lane

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 15:40 | 2829196 Jack Burton
Jack Burton's picture

It is clear why you get the MillionDollarBonus!  I too worked for sub minimum wage as a kid of 16, I should have followed your example and turned them into the caring and deeply concerned government officials who would have made everything all right.

What we do know is that government can create jobs, it can boost our wages, it can give us job security and it can keep the greedy job creators in line. I am now much older and wiser and would encourage all young kids to turn to government as their friends in the battle againt job creators and their greedy ways.

Million Dollar Bonuses for all. Government can make it so. No more sub par wages, raises for all. We will either straighten out those job creators or run them out of town.

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 16:04 | 2829287 marathonman
marathonman's picture

Who is John Galt?

Wed, 09/26/2012 - 04:54 | 2831074 DosZap
DosZap's picture

Who is John Galt?

He is long dead........................figment of our and Ayn's imagination.

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 17:52 | 2829853 LMAOLORI
LMAOLORI's picture



LOL almost as good as MDB Jack


The Fed’s trickle-down economics


Tue, 09/25/2012 - 17:00 | 2829611 roadlust
roadlust's picture

The "Fraser Institute???"  Is now the arbiter of "economic freedom?" 

I have my own personal political think tank that calls, bullshit.  There is no Western "democracy" that coddles and protects the "financial industry," and the children of millionaires more that the good old USA.  With the lowest tax rates, ridiculously lax or outrightly unenforced regulations, and "ordinary" citizens forced to finance our "free market system" in order to keep it and the lifestyles of the Hiltons from completely imploding into reality, there is no "civilized" nation where the government issued money of the wealthy has it so good.  (see: what just happened after two decades of "free markets" policy).

We're talking about a country where a potential leader can openly have secret Swiss bank accounts.

The Fraser Institute has about as much cred on economic matters as the Romney Institute for Mormon Planetary Logic has on astronomy. 

There's a lot to complain about in this country (like rigged "public" markets run by a handful of insiders, for instance) but "economic freedom" is hilariously NOT one of them. 

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 23:51 | 2829869 Al Gorerhythm
Al Gorerhythm's picture

Yes MDB. Good one. The satire in your comments strike a note. The metric used to measur economic freedoms is the same formula used to measure the strength of the dollar. The rationale` used to establish the rankings is disingenuous : "five factors: Size of Government, Legal System & Property Rights, Sound Money, Freedom to Trade Internationally, and Regulation ."

Which one of these countries has sound money?

Which one of these countries has a small government?

Which one of these countries has a bill of rights that protects property rights?

Which one of these countries doesn't have a compromised, two tiered legal system?

Which one of these countries has a government that is reducing red tape and regulation?

Which one of these countries lets you trade freely or move your money freely?

This is as disingenuous as the world's currency basket which measures the strength of the dollar. Measuring the dollar against another currency when you use a sliding scale is just as disingenuous. It's nothing more than a convincing sham that shows a value for a weakening dollar against other similarly weakening currencies. There will never be a collapse of the dollar if the other currencies are collapsing at the same rate.

I understand your cynicism. There's nothing left, other than revolt.

Sat, 10/13/2012 - 09:30 | 2884591 jwoop66
jwoop66's picture

Articles like this are always stupid.  Just look at the hypothesis and then look at the countries that are "free".    Whatever.  move to Bahrain, fools!   Live the freedom!

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 19:14 | 2830155 NeedtoSecede
NeedtoSecede's picture

+1 for another great use of sarc MDB.  What is scary is that I have ongoing debates with several people who say they are centrists who say these same things--exactly.  Right out of the Zombie Book of Libtard Talking Points.

Beam me up Scotty no intelligent life down here...


Tue, 09/25/2012 - 21:32 | 2830598 JR
JR's picture

Not much left to trickle down when the “U.S. multinationals have an estimated $1.7 Trillion parked overseas, amounting to 60 percent of their cash” to avoid U.S. taxes even on U.S sold goods, according to a Senate subcommittee, while, says the SF Chronicle this past week, “Corporate taxes have plummeted as a share of federal revenue from a high of 32.1 percent in 1952 to less than 9 percent now.”

At the same time, “individual income taxes have remained constant at about 42 percent of federal revenue.”

Sounds more like trickle up to the multinationals to me, particularly in that the United States has offshored an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month to low wage workers since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

In addition, 40,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have closed permanently during the past decade (46,000 factories being transferred from the US to Asia over the same 10 year period, according to Gordon T. Long).

While gutting the U.S. work force of 2.9 million jobs inside the United States, the U.S. multinational corporations added 2.4 million new jobs overseas during the first decade of this century. 

Ten years ago the U.S. economy was three times as large as the Chinese economy; at the turn of the century the United States accounted for well over 20 per cent of global GDP and China accounted for significantly less than 10 per cent of global GDP. 

Since that time U.S. share of global GDP has been steadily declining and China’s share has been steadily rising.

When the American government recognized the Chinese Communists as the official and legitimate government of China in December, 1978,  Senator Barry Goldwater told a news conference: “I have no idea what motivated him (Carter) other than (that) the Trilateral Commission, composed of bankers in this country and others, want to expand big business.”

When President Carter betrayed and severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan (the only elected government China has ever had) and stated that “there is but one China,” Goldwater charged that Carter’s  motives were economic, saying that “he did it for the big banks of the world—Chase Manhattan and the French bankers—and for companies like Coca Cola.”


Sat, 10/13/2012 - 09:27 | 2884588 jwoop66
jwoop66's picture

The sarc is more overt in this column, MDB.   You have answered a long standing question for me.

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 16:04 | 2829290 ali-ali-al-qomfri
ali-ali-al-qomfri's picture

Oh Pladizow please allow me to fill in the blanks….


Land of the FLEECED  and the home of the DEPRAIVED



ps ot (did I miss ZH’s big article on the Silver crush?)

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 19:59 | 2830332 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Pladizow remarked thusly:

Land of the -------- and the home of the -----------?

Home of the land, free of the brave.

Wed, 09/26/2012 - 02:49 | 2831011 akak
akak's picture

Land of the free (government handouts), home of the brave (New World).

Wed, 09/26/2012 - 04:23 | 2831059 Colonel Klink
Colonel Klink's picture

Lemming and financial cliff?  Did I win?

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 15:40 | 2829192 km4
km4's picture


Sheila Bair: Tim Geithner Was 'Bailouter In Chief'

Former FDIC chairman Sheila Bair, in discussing her new book, 'Bull By the Horns,' takes a very critical stand against Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, with respect to excessive spending in the government's banks bailout.


Tue, 09/25/2012 - 19:17 | 2830166 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

He was also a tax cheat before he was Sec of the Treasury. It's like putting a pedophile in charge of child protective services. I suppose they are both experts in their field.

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 14:45 | 2828856 Yellowhoard
Yellowhoard's picture

We're number 19!

We're number19!


Suck it Zimbabwe!
Suck it North Korea!

We are so much better than you!


Tue, 09/25/2012 - 14:51 | 2828897 Unbezahlbar
Unbezahlbar's picture

The numbers are skewed...sampling errors....statisical warming....they're cheating.....seasonal....'better then expected'....VooDoo.....


Come on! Give us a chance. if we try hard we can hit #30 in no time.


Tue, 09/25/2012 - 15:14 | 2829056 exi1ed0ne
exi1ed0ne's picture

This is from 2010, so we have a few years of Change and Hope to account for:


We're no. 25!

We're no. 25!

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 19:19 | 2830174 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

Obama would say, "See, we did this free market, George Bush thing and it didn't work. All that freedom did not stop the market crash. So, now it's time to try a new way!"

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 14:41 | 2828864 The Alarmist
The Alarmist's picture

It's the same old song ...

Or was that "Freedom's just another word for nothing to lose" ???

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 14:43 | 2828866 Vincent Vega
Vincent Vega's picture

OK, I admit it. I had to do a Google search to find out where Mauritius is located. (It's near Madagascar in the Indian Ocean).

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 15:11 | 2829038 anarchitect
anarchitect's picture

A 15% flat tax rate and weather like Hawaii. Rather alluring.

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 14:42 | 2828875 Darth Mul
Darth Mul's picture

Jesus Christ stop arguing angels dancing on the heads of pins - it's all money created out of thin air and in contravention to the US Constitution - it is odious debt and null and void ab initio and this sort of 'jubilee' is necessary to avoid the sort of "gray state" future I begin to worry the statist cryptofascists may indeed resort to.


And worry about false flags from our Zionist 5th Column:

[again: ]

Last Friday, during question time at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy policy forum luncheon on “How to Build US-Israeli Coordination on Preventing an Iranian Nuclear Breakout,” the director of research at the pro-Israel think tank hinted that a Pearl Harbor-type attack might be necessary to get the United States to go to war against the Islamic Republic.

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 14:44 | 2828888 LongSoupLine
LongSoupLine's picture



Where else are you free to stand in line for a week to buy an absurdly overpriced piece of shit electronic device with the money you obtained from a govt. welfare program??


Tue, 09/25/2012 - 14:44 | 2828889 pods
pods's picture

I am sure that the idiotic corporatist SCOTUS decisions of the last decade have not helped.


Corporations are people.

And who can forget how it is now legal for the imperial federal government to tax you for NOT acting in a certain way.

Toss in the corporate policia getting a cut of civil asset forfeiture and you have a full blown CF.

Fucking clown circus this nation has become.


Tue, 09/25/2012 - 15:04 | 2829003 yrbmegr
yrbmegr's picture

OK, but since the income tax was created, it has been legal for the federal government to tax you for not acting in a certain way.  That's how all deductions and credits work.  If you don't do the thing for which you get the deduction or the credit, you pay.  There are thousands of such provisions in the tax code.

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 15:18 | 2829082 pods
pods's picture

Fair enough, but now it has been turned on its head.

It used to be a carrot, and now it is the stick.

The old way is that everyone pays an amount of tax, and gets a reduction for acting in a certain way.

Now, an extra tax is levied on those who do not act in a certain way.  


Tue, 09/25/2012 - 15:40 | 2829200 odatruf
odatruf's picture

It's a subtle difference, but a real one.

The real shift is in that they think all the money is theirs, and if you do certain things then you can keep some.

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 19:23 | 2830186 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

It is very real and hugely different! You did not get fined and jailed for not buying and home and getting a tax deduction. You simply missed out. Now, if you do not do what the government tells you to do in buying an insurance product you will face increasing sanctions.

States have long done this with car insurance. Having been in traffic court several times for exhuberant driving I watched the coercive power of the state to buy a product.

As ObamaCare morphs into national/socialized healthcare you will see an amazing and person level of control of your life. It won't just be about big Gulps.

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 15:20 | 2829095 Sofa King Confused
Sofa King Confused's picture

If corporations are people,  Then they can be killed?  If they cannot be killed, they are not people.  If they want to be a person, they should be that way in courts also.  In that way of thinking,  a corporation/person like Monsatan being found guilty of poisoning/killing people in France should recieve life in prison or a death sentence.  If Monsatan is a person, then it must get the death penalty.

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 19:20 | 2830177 NeedtoSecede
NeedtoSecede's picture

+10 for your elegant use of the English language pods.

"Fucking clown circus this nation has become." 

Amen Brother, nothing more needs to be said.


Tue, 09/25/2012 - 14:45 | 2828892 slaughterer
slaughterer's picture

Breaking news: Wells Fargo Website is down since slightly after 2pm, it has been hacked

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 14:49 | 2828911 LongSoupLine
LongSoupLine's picture

That's impossible!  Big banks are not permitted to have issues.

Quick, call Ben and prints them some extra money fast!!

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 14:49 | 2828912 caimen garou
caimen garou's picture

number 19? I beg to differ!where else can you get a ebt card and work for cash money,ebt the new american express! I say we are number 1, for something.

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 14:54 | 2828932 Yellowhoard
Yellowhoard's picture

We're number 1 in porn and obesity!

Wed, 09/26/2012 - 04:28 | 2831060 Colonel Klink
Colonel Klink's picture

Jesus Christ that explains it all.  When I watch porn, I get chubby!  Fuck, I must have been blind not to make the connection.  I guess it's just a side effect.

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 14:52 | 2828926 pndr4495
pndr4495's picture

The simple contains the complex , never the other way around.  Pickens is right about us buying too much non American oil over the time under consideration.  The explanation for our choked economic freedom is tied directly to that development - the imbalance in easily acquired oil ; but the banking cabal exacerbated that reality to fit its own ends too .

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 15:02 | 2828976 thomasincincy
thomasincincy's picture

war pigs are going to choke on they're petro dollar

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 14:59 | 2828962 fuu
fuu's picture

To be revised down to #27 next week.

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 15:49 | 2829234 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

I can do that right now.

The World Bank Group (Owned &  Manipulated by none other than the US Government itself) keeps its own set of Governance Indicators, which the incompetent Obama lackey running the institution has appaerntly negelected to doctor for his bosses' benefit.

If you calculate the average of each country's percentile scores across the different indicators, the average for the US is 84.50421

Which places the United States in 27th place behind a motley assortment of PIIGS, Tax Havens, Vikings, British ExPats, and other lunatics -


Voice and Accountability - Reflects perceptions of the extent to which a country's citizens are able to participate in selecting their government, as well as freedom of expression, freedom of association, and a free media.

Political Stability and Absence of Violence - Reflects perceptions of the likelihood that the government will be destabilized or overthrown by unconstitutional or violent means, including politically-motivated violence and terrorism.

Government Effectiveness - Reflects perceptions of the quality of public services, the quality of the civil service and the degree of its independence from political pressures, the quality of policy formulation and implementation, and the credibility of the government's commitment to such policies.

Regulatory Quality - Reflects perceptions of the ability of the government to formulate and implement sound policies and regulations that permit and promote private sector development.

Rule of Law - Reflects perceptions of the extent to which agents have confidence in and abide by the rules of society, and in particular the quality of contract enforcement, property rights, the police, and the courts, as well as the likelihood of crime and violence.

Control of Corruption - Reflects perceptions of the extent to which public power is exercised for private gain, including both petty and grand forms of corruption, as well as "capture" of the state by elites and private interests.

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 16:58 | 2829593 Kalevi
Kalevi's picture

Those damned SOCIALIST!

They beat you in freedom also?

But here's the final insult, the only thing American I love, my 400 HP badass honest to God professional grade Truck, is made in socialist Gringo Light CANADA!!!

That proves you'r toast;)

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