The Level Of Economic Freedom In The United States Is At An All-Time Low

Tyler Durden's picture

World economic freedom averaged a record 60.3 out of 100 in 2014, with the U.S. dropping to 12th position, the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom shows. As Bloomberg's Niraj Shah points out, Ireland is the most economically liberal nation in the euro area and Hong Kong the most liberal in the world. Greece, Italy, France, Cyprus and the U.K. had lower scores than 20 years ago.


But it is the ongoing tumble in the US that is of most relevance and concern...

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

Americans have never had less economic freedom than they do right now.  The 2014 Index of Economic Freedom has just been released, and it turns out that the level of economic freedom in the United States has now fallen for seven consecutive years.  But of course none of us need a report or a survey to tell us that.  All we have to do is open our eyes and look around.  At this point our entire society is completely dominated by control freaks and bureaucrats.  Our economy is literally being suffocated to death by millions of laws, rules and regulations and each year brings a fresh tsunami of red tape.  As you will see below, the U.S. government issued more than 80,000 pages of brand new rules and regulations last year on top of what we already had.  Even if we didn't have all of the other monumental economic problems that we are currently facing, all of this bureaucracy alone would be enough to kill our economy.

Yes, every society needs a few basic rules.  We would have total chaos if we did not have any laws at all.  But in general, when there is more economic freedom there tends to be more economic prosperity.  In fact, the greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history was during a time when the federal government was much smaller, there was no Federal Reserve and there was no income tax.  Most Americans do not know this.

Those that founded this nation intended for it to be a place where freedom was maximized and government intrusion into our lives was minimized.

If they were still alive today, they would be absolutely horrified.  We are literally drowning in red tape.

The photo posted below was shared by U.S. Senator Mike Lee on his Facebook page.  Study it carefully...

Photo by U.S. Senator Mike Lee

The following is what he had to say about this photo...

"Behold my display of the 2013 Federal Register. It contains over 80,000 pages of new rules, regulations, and notices all written and passed by unelected bureaucrats. The small stack of papers on top of the display are the laws passed by elected members of Congress and signed into law by the president."

I didn't even see the small stack of paper at the top of the cabinet until I read his explanation.  Most of the time everyone is so focused on what Congress is doing, but the truth is that the real oppression is happening behind the scenes as unelected federal bureaucrats pump out millions upon millions of useless regulations that are systematically killing our economic freedom.

On Tuesday, an article about the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom was published by the Wall Street Journal.  As I mentioned above, the United States has fallen for seven years in a row...

World economic freedom has reached record levels, according to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, released Tuesday by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. But after seven straight years of decline, the U.S. has dropped out of the top 10 most economically free countries.

That same article mentioned some of the reasons why the United States is falling...

It's not hard to see why the U.S. is losing ground. Even marginal tax rates exceeding 43% cannot finance runaway government spending, which has caused the national debt to skyrocket. The Obama administration continues to shackle entire sectors of the economy with regulation, including health care, finance and energy. The intervention impedes both personal freedom and national prosperity.

And of course the results are predictable.  Our economy has been steadily declining for many years, and that decline appears to be ready to start picking up speed once again.  The following is an excerpt from a recent article by Dave in Denver...

In the latest retail sales report for December, auto sales were nailed - down 1.8%. The only reason overall retail sales from November to December showed a slight "gain" that November's number was revised lower. Electronics fell off of a cliff. The housing market is about to get crushed. Feedback I'm getting from my Seeking Alpha articles and blog posts on housing from housing market professionals all around the country tells me that the housing market hit a wall at the end of 2013, as I have been forecasting.

What he said about the housing market is definitely true.  In recent months, mortgage originations have been falling like a rock.  Just check out this chart.

And as I wrote about the other day, there has been absolutely no employment recovery since the end of the last recession.  In fact, 1,687,000 fewer Americans have jobs today compared to exactly six years ago even though the population has grown significantly since then.

Unfortunately, these are not just "cyclical problems".  Long ago we abandoned the fundamental principles that once made our economy great, and now we are paying a tremendous price for that.

Posted below is a story that has been circulating all over the Internet for quite some time.  It is a fake story.  Once again, let me repeat that.  This is a fake story.  But I think that it does a great job of illustrating what is happening to America as we march toward full-fledged socialism...

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama’s socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.


The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama’s plan”.. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A…. (substituting grades for dollars – something closer to home and more readily understood by all).


After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.


The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.


To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. Could not be any simpler than that.

But of course it would be disingenuous to pin all of the blame for this just on Obama.  The truth is that our nation has continued to march toward socialism no matter who has been in the White House and no matter who has been in control of Congress.  So if you want to place some of the blame on a "Bush" or a "Clinton" or a "Boehner" or a "Pelosi" please feel free.

And the American people are getting sick and tired of this one party system that has two heads.  According to a recent Gallup survey, only 29 percent of all Americans consider themselves to be Democrats right now.  And the news was even worse for Republicans.  According to that survey, only 24 percent of all Americans consider themselves to be Republicans at this point.

A staggering 45 percent of all Americans now consider themselves to be Independents.  Deep down, most Americans know that something is seriously wrong with our nation and that they are being lied to be our politicians and the mainstream media.

Unfortunately, there is very little agreement about how to fix things because Americans do not have a set of shared values that we all agree on anymore.

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pods's picture

I would comment as to how we are now living in tyranny but I will lose my EBT and Google will turn down my thermostat right before another Polar Vortex attack.


Hippocratic Oaf's picture

I owe, I owe, it's off to work I go............

Four chan's picture

the best stack of favoritism money can buy.

Ignatius's picture

The parasite killing the host.

Rubbish's picture

"Bubble Top" vans loaded down with Gold/silver escape detection and code enforcement.

Scarlett's picture

In due course, "Economic freedom" will converge to zero, as all the other freedoms are.  

CH1's picture

At this point, keeping the rules is for suckers only.

Scarlett's picture

Libertarianism for TPTB; communism for everyone else.  



philipat's picture

@Four chan

Which stack were you referring to? ;-)

TheReplacement's picture

Libertarianism does not include a credo for abusing others just like capitalism does not call for coersion.

Let's use neo-feudalism for everyone.  It is much more honest for the serfs as well as the elites.

ZH Snob's picture

our govt is forcing freedom-loving people to work in the black markets.  once it all crashes this will become common knowledge  and the only way business will be done.

CH1's picture

Funny thing about black markets: Your products and services need to be better.

Dr. Engali's picture

This is a result of the major corporations writing all the regulations. Most of these institutions should have collapsed in 2008, instead they captured the regulatory process and are squeezing out any possible competition.

Sean7k's picture

I have to disagree doc, this is the result of HAVING law and regulation. If we eliminate all of it, the problem resolves itself.

Dr. Engali's picture

I'll agree with you there, but it will never happen. We ran pretty well with modest regulation for years. When Glass-Stegall was written it was 37 pages. Dodd-Frank was 2,319 pages, mostly written by the banks.


The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.


Sean7k's picture

Even Tacitus realized law=corruption. All governments are merely slavery systems and we seem to be willing to remain slaves regardless of the era. Ignorance is bliss.

Anusocracy's picture

We are directly enslaved by government and indirectly enslaved by banksters and corporations as a consequence of government.

CH1's picture

We are directly enslaved by government and indirectly enslaved by banksters and corporations...

Yes. And so long as we all obey, NOTHING will change.

Why should it?

Anusocracy's picture

Thanks. Good read.

Did you know some ants have slavery? Goes to show that government isn't a very advanced form of social organization.

Parasitism is common in nature.

Anusocracy's picture

It is becoming apparent that Paulville communities are needed.,_Texas

AmericasCicero's picture

The more laws, the less justice

~Cicero~ ... the Roman one.

Anusocracy's picture

Individuals and corporations seek to create an environment that they believe will promote their survival.

It's all about acquiring resources and denying them to others. Of course, most everyone tries to do the same.

That's where government comes in, its MO is to pick winners and create losers through use of force. Compare that with a free-market, which picks winners and creates losers through merit.

Duke of Earl's picture

Why blame the corporations for writing the laws?  Of course they will write it in their favor.  It's like blaming a dog for eating the meat you left out on the counter.  

Blame should be on your public servants for letting it hapen.

Dr. Engali's picture

"Public servants"....fuck that was funny...I can't stop laughing.

Duke of Earl's picture

My jaded cynicism occasionally escapes through the keyboard.

Sean7k's picture

United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres said that democracy is a poor political system for fighting global warming. Communist China, she says, is the best model.

China may be the world’s top emitter of carbon dioxide and struggling with major pollution problems of their own, but the country is “doing it right” when it comes to fighting global warming says Figueres.

“They actually want to breathe air that they don’t have to look at,” she said. “They’re not doing this because they want to save the planet. They’re doing it because it’s in their national interest.”

Read more:

Here's a public servant at work!

tip e. canoe's picture

they're really pushing the communism meme lately aren't they?

talk about a hard fucking sell...jeez.

bunnyswanson's picture

On August 23rd, 1973 two machine-gun carrying criminals entered a bank in Stockholm, Sweden. Blasting their guns, one prison escapee named Jan-Erik Olsson announced to the terrified bank employees “The party has just begun!” The two bank robbers held four hostages, three women and one man, for the next 131 hours. The hostages were strapped with dynamite and held in a bank vault until finally rescued on August 28th.

After their rescue, the hostages exhibited a shocking attitude considering they were threatened, abused, and feared for their lives for over five days. In their media interviews, it was clear that they supported their captors and actually feared law enforcement personnel who came to their rescue. The hostages had begun to feel the captors were actually protecting them from the police. One woman later became engaged to one of the criminals and another developed a legal defense fund to aid in their criminal defense fees. Clearly, the hostages had “bonded” emotionally with their captors.

While the psychological condition in hostage situations became known as “Stockholm Syndrome” due to the publicity, the emotional “bonding” with captors was a familiar story in psychology. It had been recognized many years before and was found in studies of other hostage, prisoner, or abusive situations such as:

  • Abused Children
  • Battered/Abused Women
  • Prisoners of War
  • Cult Members
  • Incest Victims
  • Criminal Hostage Situations
  • Concentration Camp Prisoners
  • Controlling/Intimidating Relationships
mobius8curve's picture

This is all by design:

Revelation 17:17-18  For God did put in their hearts to do his mind, and to come to one mind, and to give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God should be accomplished.  (18)  And the woman whom thou sawest is the great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

Duke of Earl's picture


This is awesome!  ZH needs more biblical prophecies of doom in the comments!

carbonmutant's picture

"And the American people are getting sick and tired of this one party system that has two heads."

Ummm... I suspect that the parties are two hands that feed a head...

Cannon Fodder's picture

Related to rules.... I've been looking around for some "off-grid" type of land. The biggest problem I face is finding land that doesn't have a bunch of rules attached to it. Is there an HOA? Are there convenants? Am I allowed to drill a well? Do I have water rights? Am I allowed to collect rain water? Are there building codes that I must comply with?

And I am not talking about some urban land. I am looking at stuff out in the boonies.... and still so many laws and rules that govern my simple task of trying to by some land to live on in peace and quiet and be self sufficient.... unbelievable...

pods's picture

Funny on how you have to ask so many permissions to use something of "yours?"


Cannon Fodder's picture

Even worse is even if I pay cash for the property, I still have to pay to live on it - ie yearly taxes - so really all one can do is rent land....

And yes, I don't understand having to ask permission to use what is mine. And how does a state claim ownership of water than falls on my property?

pods's picture

The state will claim just about anything it can get away with.  

The problem today is that most would happily sing like the canary in the cage, and even fight to protect that.

Life is tough and today people have been granted complacency at an unprecedented level.

When the dollar loses reserve currency status things will change. Not for the better for most, but it will change and let those who wish to live do so unencumbered.


Cannon Fodder's picture

Agreed, the state will claim what they want, and will do so ultimately through violence.

Interesting point as well, about when things go south, things will change. I've thought about that before, An off grid place in "normal" times has a lot of rules that go with it. But WTSHTF, who's going to enforce all those rules on an out of the way place in the woods?

pods's picture

If things go south, no way Johhny Law is going out in the sticks.  Too great of a chance of never coming back.


Tim_'s picture

When It Rains, It Pours Tax Dollars In Maryland

"Maryland, for example, has had 40 new taxes signed into law by Gov. O’Malley since he took office in 2007. The most oppressive of those taxes is the one being levied on rain."

"This tax is an annual fee on impervious surfaces such as roofs, driveways, sidewalks, garages, and any other surface that could create drainage problems and water contamination situated on property owned by an individual or a business. However, the tax is not applied to every city or county in the state."

"And of course no tax hike would be complete without government agencies, such as the Department of Navy, that own land with impervious surfaces resisting and declining to pay the newly enacted law."


That TINY stack of papers on top of the stand cost the taxpayers billions of $ last year and it sure as hell wasn't worth it. If that is a measure of what the folks on the hill are doing then that is truly sad. I personally produced a stack of papers (work) three times that volume and I work for half of what I used to make.    (see above photo and caption) 

CH1's picture

still so many laws and rules that govern my simple task of trying to by some land to live on in peace and quiet and be self sufficient....

Freedom is illegal.

Seasmoke's picture

Corporate Fascists

q99x2's picture

China and Russia will help protect the American people from their government.


q99x2         Just curious, was that sarc/on or sarc/off concerning the China and Russia comment?

seek's picture

RT reports more real news about the US that US media does -- I suspect it's sarc/off.


seek       I suspect sarc/off also as I know Russia has been lending the peeps here a helping hand for a while now.

artytom's picture

It may report a lot of things happening in the USA but if you try to discuss the same degree of insight in China, you'll be arrested. Ask Marc Faber. You don't want China running your life either.

RKDS's picture

I almost wonder if he's referencing John Titor.  He claimed that in 2015 Russia would launch a nuclear assault against urban centers, stating that it was waging war not on Americans but their government.

Motorhead's picture

It's obvious the American body politic just loves this stuff 'cuz it keeps happening.

bigrooster's picture

Everything is going according to plan.  Obama and his federal agencies are right on track for complete distruction of America by 2016.