Wednesday, January 20, 2010

We’re Number Eight!

2010 Index of Economic Freedom World Rankings [from the Heritage Foundation]

1 Hong Kong 89.7
2 Singapore 86.1
3 Australia 82.6
4 New Zealand 82.1
5 Ireland 81.3
6 Switzerland 81.1
7 Canada 80.4
8 United States 78.0

Above are the rankings for the most recent measure of economic freedom in the world. Notice that we are number eight. The U.S. overall freedom percentage was down a whopping 2.7% last year. If we were in Hong Kong we could chant, “We’re number one, we’re number one!” If we were Singapore, we could say, “We’re #2, we try harder!”

But we are number eight, and sinking rapidly down the ladder of economic freedom.

Remember, Hong Kong is now part of Red China – and don’t forget why China gets such a colorful designation! I know Hong Kong is treated differently than the rest of China in some regards, but think of it – if we were taken over by the current commies of China and they agreed to treat us like a giant Hong Kong, we would have significantly more economic freedom than we do now!

We are pathetic.

We are pathetic because we no longer love freedom. What we love more than freedom is the government doing things for us – or at least pretending to do things for us. I’m not talking here about somebody, somewhere in an inner city. I’m talking about most of the middle class, and much of the upper class. (Yes, Virginia, there is ‘welfare for the well-to-do.’ Remember, General Motors is now a welfare-dependent ward of the state.)

Most Americans today have forgotten what economic freedom would be like. And the more we forget that, the more economic freedom will slip away, and the further down that list we will slip.

Yes, yes, I know the refrain: “If the government doesn’t help poor people, middle class people, large companies, etc., whatever will happen when things go wrong, economically speaking?” Here is what happens when there is a perceived need and the government stays out of the picture because of economic freedom – people ‘vote’ with their money as to what is, and is not, worthy of help. From the starving orphan to the failing corporation, if you think the cause is worthy, you have the freedom to vote with your own money to solve the problem. You can buy a company’s products, you can send food to the needy, you can give a scholarship to a student – the list will never end. And if enough people agree with you, the resources will be great.

That, my friends, is economic freedom. It is a morally and socially beautiful arrangement because it respects the integrity and economic decisions of individual human beings: you remember them, the ones made in God’s image?

Unfortunately, our national society is laden with whining people who are more than willing to sacrifice your economic freedom to their grandiose ideas of utopia. We need to invite all such persons to: 1) repent and join our free society, 2) move to a country more suitable to their freedom-hating tastes – may I recommend Zimbabwe at #178 and North Korea at #179? 3) remain with us but shut their freedom-loathing mouths and start putting their own money – not mine – where their mouths used to be.

Economic freedom: got some, need much more.

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