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Kim Holmes, Heritage Foundation Vice President of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, and Director of The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, spoke about the 2011 version of the Index of Economic Freedom in Nashville recently. Unfortunately, the inventor of economic freedom, America, has dropped to 9th in the world and second in North America, among 183 countries at 77.8% or MOSTLY FREE, rather than FREE which requires an 80% minimum rating. Data used to compile the index is unbiased and is pulled from a variety of sources including the IMF, the World Bank, the United Nations and others.
Economic freedom is defined as the fundamental right of every human to control his or her own labor and property. Benefits of economically free countries include better per capita income, economic growth rates, human development, democracy, the elimination of poverty, and environmental protection. The more economically free a country is, the better they fair in all these areas.
The ten facets of measurement The Heritage Foundation uses in measuring economic freedom around the world include Business Freedom, Trade Freedom, Fiscal Freedom, Government Spending, Monetary Freedom, Investment Freedom, Financial Freedom, Property rights, Freedom from Corruption and Labor Freedom.
The stimulus bill increased federal government spending to 25% of GDP from a recent historical rate of about 20%. Debt as a percentage of GDP has deteriorated. The government takeover of health care raised prices and disrupted markets lowering us a half point in our freedom standing all by itself. Bailouts and government takeovers have rocked markets, stifling investment and job growth. Government interference in auto bankruptcies violated the rights of shareholders and bondholders. The US corporate tax rate is the highest in the world.
According to Heritage, there are steps that can be taken to reverse this trend...
Reduce Federal Government spending.
Pass pending FTA's with South Korea, Panama, and Columbia.
Restore financial integrity. (End TARP, Get the government out of bankruptcy proceedings. Repeal Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Repeal Dodd-Frank, etc.)
Reduce American's tax burden. (Establish a flat tax for both personal and corporate income and simplify the tax code.)
Repeal eminent domain as established by Kelo.
This was an informative, but disturbing talk revealing serious concern for the future of America. Please review the statistics and discussion for yourself at http://www.heritage.org/index/