Measuring the degree of freedom in America is a good-news-bad-news proposition.
The good news is that we moved up 7 places in the rankings in 2017 – the first year of the Trump presidency – from the previous year.
The bad news is that even after last year’s rise, America still ranks only #17 out of the 159 countries ranked.
Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the UK … and even Estonia are freer than the U.S.
Since 2008 the Cato Institute and the Fraser Institute have collaborated to develop the Human Freedom Index … ranking nations from most free to least free by scoring them using 79 indicators of both personal and economic freedom.
For decades, the U.S. was among the top 3 most free nations in the world … until government began expanding – infringing on personal liberties – and confiscating more and more of its citizens’ income through massive spending and increased taxes.
Liberty is a zero-sum game … when government grows and assumes more responsibility and power … the more it infringes on the rights and liberties of the individual.
Since the early 1960s – when the entire federal budget was less than $100 billion a year – 6 new cabinet-level departments have been added to the federal government … adding over 400,000 government employees and about $225 billion in additional government spending every year.
At the end of the Clinton administration, the national debt was $5.629 trillion.
At the end of the George W. Bush administration – after the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2002 and the financial crisis and subsequent bank bailout of 2008 – the debt was $9.986 trillion.
President Obama left the U.S. with a $19.98 trillion debt on the last day of 2016 – more than double what he inherited in 2009. Here’s how he did it:
- He rammed a nearly $1 trillion “stimulus” package through Congress.
- His policies increased unemployment from less than 8% to 10% … real unemployment was nearly twice that high.
- He initiated a federal takeover of health care … driving up costs and reducing access.
Obama also reduced personal freedom by:
- Approving government spying on every American without a warrant
- Stifling religious freedom by forcing Americans to act in violation of their deeply-held religious beliefs or face punishment by the government
The U.S. dropped from #16 on the Global Freedom Index to #24 during the Obama administration.
In contrast, President Trump issued an executive order stipulating that for every new regulation implemented by a federal agency, two must be repealed.
The executive order has far exceeded expectations – for every new regulation added, 22 have been repealed!
For every government regulation repealed, individual freedom increases…
Here are some of the other changes President Trump has initiated which have made the U.S. a freer nation:
- He has reined in the EPA – creating a positive impact on property rights.
- The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has increased the wages of millions of employees and enabled companies to create thousands of new jobs.
- He has reversed Obama-era restrictions on people of faith
- He has nominated conservative judges who honor the enumerated powers principle of the Constitution and do not legislate from the bench.
- He appointed a school choice advocate as Secretary of Education, giving parents more freedom to choose and direct the education of their children.
- He is seeking to divest vast land in the West from federal control and free it up for private purchase and use.
The more President Trump is able to accomplish in “draining the swamp” of career politicians who want to control every aspect of our lives through government rules and regulations, the freer we will become.
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