For the fourth year in a row, the United States has fallen on the Heritage Foundation’s international Index of Economic Freedom. For 2011, the U.S. fell from 9th to 10th, just behind Ireland.(full story at dailycaller.com)
The Economic Freedom Index ranks 179 countries. Due to a lack of data, the report excludes only four war-torn countries and Europe’s Lichtenstein.
The U.S. -- which Heritage considered a “free economy” in 2008 -- is now called “mostly free.” Only the top five countries on the index still hold the rank of “free” -- maintaining a score of 80 out of 100 or higher -- with the highest score standing at 89.9. The United States is currently scored at 76.3.
“Most worrisome is the U.S.’s drop in the category of freedom from corruption,” a press release from Heritage reads. “Index editors say this stems from the growing perception of corruption associated with government bailouts of troubled industries, including automakers and investment houses. The perception of corruption also grew due to regulatory exemptions granted to politically well-connected companies and special-interest groups. More than 1,100 companies won exemptions from provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health care legislation.”
“Corruption is a growing concern as the cronyism and economic rent-seeking associated with the growth of government have undermined institutional integrity,” the release continued.
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