United States Downgraded Again by Economic Freedom Index

Mark Skousen

Named one of the "Top 20 Living Economists," Dr. Skousen is a professional economist, investment expert, university professor, and author of more than 25 books.

The Fraser Institute’s 2012 Economic Freedom Index was just released last week. The index is compiled by Florida State University Professor Jim Gwartner and other top free-market economists. It ranks 120 countries by five criteria: size of government, legal system, sound money, free trade and regulation.

The latest index paints a negative picture of the United States. Although the data is updated only to 2010, the United States continued its decline in the rankings. Hong Kong and Singapore are still first and second in economic freedom, but the United States has now fallen to 18th. Ten years ago, the United States was #3. But as a result of the Bush and Obama years in the White House, the United States has fallen off of the top-ten list of the world’s freest countries. Even Canada, Finland and Chile are ranked higher than the United States.

Guess what country is ranked the worst of 120 nations covered in the report? Venezuela! That country just elected the man who put them in that bottom-dwelling position: Hugo Chavez. He won for the fourth time, and will be around for another six years, assuming he lives — wrecking economic havoc on the fourth-wealthiest nation in South America. It is a sad commentary for the country to allow this Marxist tyrant to run this natural resource-rich nation into the ground. No doubt the election last week was rigged against the opposition. According to Mary O’Grady in The Wall Street Journal, many Venezuelans were afraid to vote against Chavez because there’s no secret ballot there.

Exclusive  Daily Data Flow: Stocks Decline; Dollar Rallies; Consumer Sentiment Jumps

Imagine living in the country that does not offer you the chance to vote your conscience with a secret ballot, that uses intimidation and fear as weapons against its own people, and that continues to be weakened economically by the unwise policies of a corruptly elected leader. America may not be perfect but there is a reason why people from around the world sacrifice to come here. They clearly want freedom.

The United States needs to ensure that the freedom that has attracted so many newcomers never is lost by adopting ill-advised policies and laws that erode that strength. The institute’s latest index rankings should serve as a warning that economic freedom is worth defending.

You Blew It! Christopher Hichens was No Saint

Alex Green, a long-time friend and respected investment writer, recently applauded the life of the infamous atheist Christopher Hitchens in a column ironically called http://spiritualwealth.com. Alex recalls meeting and hearing Hitchens at FreedomFest (www.freedomfest.com) in 2010, when the atheist debated Dinesh D’Souza on religion (D’Souza won the debate 55% to 45%). Alex remembers Hitchens as witty, literary, and “the finest talker of our own era.”

I see Hitchens differently. In my view, Hitchens was one of those tragic figures who wasted his special talents, his mellifluous voice and felicity of expression to destroy rather than to build a good society.

Should reasonable people sing the praises of a workaholic cynic who celebrated heavy smoking and drinking? Indeed, Hitchens touted smoking and alcohol use as virtues in essays and features that he wrote for Vanity Fair magazine. Should we commend a writer who denigrated a great saint like Mother Teresa in a sacrilege entitled, “The Missionary Position,” or his bestseller “God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything,” a work that ignored the contributions that Christianity has made in establishing the great universities, hospitals, and assistance for the poor, the suffering, and the needy? Should we salute a man who defended the Bush Doctrine and the Iraq War? Or should we praise a man who admired Lenin, Trotsky, and Che Guevera, and called himself a Marxist to his dying day?

Exclusive  Daily Data Flow: S&P 500 Reaches Record Highs; Student Loan Debt an Increasing Problem; Nikkei Falls on Profit Taking

Should we extend all of those accolades because he was a clever writer, debater and raconteur?

Yours for peace, prosperity and liberty, AEIOU,

Mark Skousen

Mark Skousen
Wikipedia
Newsletter and trading services
Personal website

Like This Article?
Now Get Mark's FREE Special Report:
3 Dividend Plays with Sky-High Returns

This newly-released report by a top-20 living economist details three investments that are your best bets for income and appreciation for the rest of the year and beyond.

Get Access to the Report, 100% FREE


img
previous article

Regular readers of Eagle Eye Opener received a news brief yesterday noting the rebirth of the business lunch -- as well as the rebirth of profits in the companies most-often picked to host these lunches. The rising share prices of Darden Restaurants (DRI) and Yum Brands! (YUM), up 23 % and 14% so far this year, respectively, are examples of this uptick in dining-out demand.

PREMIUM SERVICES FOR INVESTORS

Dr. Mark Skousen

Named one of the "Top 20 Living Economists," Dr. Skousen is a professional economist, investment expert, university professor, and author of more than 25 books.

Product Details

LEARN MORE HERE

Bryan Perry

A former Wall Street financial advisor with three decades' experience, Bryan Perry focuses his efforts on high-yield income investing and quick-hitting options plays.

Product Details

LEARN MORE HERE

Jim Woods

Jim Woods has over 20 years of experience in the markets from working as a stockbroker,
financial journalist, and money manager. As well as a book author and regular contributor to
numerous investment websites, Jim is the editor of:

Product Details

LEARN MORE HERE

Bob Carlson

Bob Carlson provides independent, objective research covering all the financial issues of retirement and retirement planning. In addition, Bob serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Fairfax County (VA) Employees’ Retirement System, which has over $2.8 billion in assets.

Product Details

LEARN MORE HERE

Mike Turner

Mike Turner’s financial, mathematical, computer science and engineering background serves as the foundation for his disciplined, rules-based approach to trading. Mike’s three services include:

Product Details

LEARN MORE HERE

Hilary Kramer

Hilary Kramer is an investment analyst and portfolio manager with 30 years of experience on Wall Street. Since 2010, Hilary's financial publications have provided stock analysis and investment advice to her subscribers:

Product Details

LEARN MORE HERE

DividendInvestor.com

Used by financial advisors and individual investors all over the world, DividendInvestor.com is the premier provider and one-stop shop for dividend information and research.

Product Details

Popular tools include our proprietary Dividend Calendar, Dividend Calculator, Dividend Score Card, and many more.

LEARN MORE HERE