America is slipping away

mike youngThe America we have known is slipping away. A report by the Cato Institute and the Fraser Institute of Canada on “Economic Freedom of the World” shows that America has slipped to number 12 among countries of the world. The study surveyed 152 countries and territories and found we have dropped from number 2 in 2000 to now number 12. This drop has resulted in fewer new businesses and less freedom for us.

The study was done by dozens of leading scholars and assumed its present form in 1996.  It measures 5 broad factors that impact the economy: 1. Size of government; 2. Legal structure and security of property rights; 3. Access to sound money; 4. Freedom to trade internationally and; 5. Regulation of Credit, Labor and Business. Countries where citizens are freer to engage in business and trade and property and legal rights are protected by the rule of law will score higher.

The higher the countries score the better they do economically and they also create more wealth. The 10 freest economies in the world are: Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, Mauritius, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Australia, Jordan, and Chile and Finland tied for 10th.

America’s fall of economic freedom is disturbing, and even more disturbing is what is behind the fall. The biggest drop in our economic freedom has been our legal structure. The report notes that, “increased use of eminent domain to transfer property to powerful political interests, the ramifications of the wars on terrorism and drugs, and the violation of the property rights of bondholders in the auto-bailout case have weakened the tradition of strong adherence to the rule of law in United States.”

The rule of law has been the cornerstone of our economic power and freedoms. America’s ranking in this area has fallen to 36th place in the world. This, combined with increased regulation is holding back our economic growth. The report notes, “The United States has experienced a significant move away from rule of law and toward a highly regulated, politicized, and heavily policed state.”

Our America is slipping away because government is putting more and more regulations in place which suffocates business and takes away property in the guise of Eminent Domain or higher taxes. The foundation of our freedoms was; personal choice, free trade, freedom to compete, protection of people and their property. Think about how each of these indicators of freedom have been and are being eroded. Government should not have the right to take from some and give it to others. Nor does anyone have the right to demand that others provide things for them. Yet isn’t that exactly what is happing. A simple example is free phones, why am I forced to give a phone to someone and pay for its use? Why should a town be able to take someone’s property to “redevelop” it into a big project for more tax revenue?

In a free society, the primary role of government is to protect individuals and their property from aggression by others. The above report is designed to measure the extent to which the government is fulfilling that role. We are going away from freedoms and toward government control of everything. What does this cost us? The report said that will trim our growth rate from a long term 3% to half of that. I think that the last few years have given us a good look of the impact of losing our freedoms and things will not get better.

This report is a look at the challenges facing us. The largest threat is the accumulation of thousands of rules and regulations that stifle innovation and undermine our personal and property rights. Yes, we need to reduce the number of regulators and the size of government but all is lost if the rule of law has been undermined. And it is being done every day. Election Day is almost upon us, what are you going to do?

Mike Young is a retired water and power executive who resides in Mesquite. Graduated from the University of LaVerne he has taught communications skills and technical subjects throughout the Western Hemisphere. In addition to writing and editing technical manuals he has a book titled “Speaking for Effect”. He has received some of the highest awards and recognition from both professional and public organizations


  1. William Miller says:

    Let’s concentrate on America and quit invovling ourselves in sectarian wars we have no business in.

  2. HMMM – The CATO Institute, AHH yes,the Cato Institute is an American libertarian so-called think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. that was founded as the Charles Koch Foundation in 1974 by Ed Crane, Murray Rothbard, and Charles Koch. Well , THAT certainly speaks volumes for its lack of objectivity and credibility! The claimed correlation between economic freedom and growth has been critically analyzed by a number of reputable studies. De Haan and Siermann find that the relationship is not robust, and is not even probable, while Heckelman and Stroup argue that the weighting procedure used in the construction of the index is completely arbitrary and was likely designed to pre-determine the desired results! Yeah – that’s real science – NOT. They examine the components of the index individually and find that many – including a low top marginal tax rate – are negatively, rather than positively correlated with economic growth, the exact opposite of the conclusions of the report! I did find one thin interesting – EVERY SINGLE ONE of the listed “top 10” have national healthcare systems! HMMM. OK then, maybe we are at least starting to try to emulate proven success models, even in the face of stark resistance from libertarians and the GOP. One other point, I kind of agree about the rule of law problem – like when people such as Cliven Bundy and his GOP supporters are allowed to ignore and disobey the law, and then bring in more lawless people to resist the enforcement of the law by valid law enforcement agencies, we DO see disregard for the rule of law and many others start to think it must be OK to denigrate the rule of law because they think they are “more special than others” But, heck, most of the GOP leaders in the area, including candidate Cresent Hardy and Senator Dean Heller characterized Bundy as a patriot and encouraged his lawbreaking activities? So yes, the rule of law has suffered because some folks think they should be able to “interpret the law” and the Constitution any old way that suite their lawlessness. That, folks, is NOT the rule of law! And I guess I just have to disagree that the big banks and wall street should not be regulated. Without strictly enforced marketplace rules, there can be NO free markets or free trade!

    • You sir are a glittering fountain of ignorance. The BLM is not a law enforcement agency it is a land management agency.

      • Alrighty then, I guess they should just ignore those who violate the laws, HUH? What would YOU propose should be done, and by whom, to enforce those court orders?

  3. The cause of historical America slipping away is liberalism.

    • Yeah, that good ‘ol “historical America” where white people owned slaves, black people didn’t count as people at all, and women couldn’t vote. Yup, Liberals didn’t like that!

    • William Miller says:

      “The cause of historical America slipping away is liberalism.”

      So conservatives are blameless?

  4. Nick Catrantzos says:

    Mike is right. We seem to have forgotten the underpinnings of the American Revolution that contrasted with the French Revolution. The American one focused on individual liberty and freedom of opportunity, which always includes the opportunity to fail. This catapulted us to unprecedented prosperity and global influence. The French Revolution, by contrast, focused more on equality, which is akin to artificial imposition of equal outcomes that are dictated from above. This system inhibited innovation and offered little incentive for anyone to excel. But it did give rise to excesses by the emerging governing class, whose abuses and reign of terror stain the history books with images of the guillotine and Robespierre.

    Casual relinquishing of our hard-won individual liberties, turning our backs on achievement and accountability, looking to government to handle our survival needs instead of looking within to excel past the subsistence level — all this diverts us from the legacy of the American Revolution and shoves us into the chaotic death spiral that the French Revolution unleashed.

    What do you think, Mike? Shall we turn our noses at old fashioned barbecue and start nibbling goose liver pate’? It isn’t quite as satisfying.

  5. Myra Burge says:

    Johninnv, Abraham Lincoln was a Republican. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed by a far greater majority among Republican senators and representatives than among Democrat senators and representatives. Yes, slavery and gender in-equality are terrible but you cannot lay that at the feet of conservatives.

    Today, a far greater problem is the abuse of power, failure to follow the rule of law and weak leadership.

  6. Right on Mike!

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