Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A new tool in the fight for economic freedom

It is a well-documented fact that societies which have the best quality of life are the ones with the highest levels of economic freedom.

Economic freedom is not only the key to our past success as a nation - it is the key to our future success as well.

Our founders created a system in which we are free to choose what and how to produce and sell - and where we are free to use our own resources for our purposes. In our 'pursuit of happiness,' our only restriction is to not infringe upon the rights of others to do the same thing

But this simple concept is only viable when the laws and government of a society respect it. Unfortunately, most of our elected officials have forgotten why economic freedom is so important - and ignore how their actions, decisions, laws and programs limit and inhibit our economic freedom.

Economic freedom - how 'easy' or unrestricted it is to pursue this concept - is the engine that drives prosperity - and it is the difference between why some societies grow and prosper and others do not.

Both the Fraser Institute and the Heritage Foundation have indexes to measure and track economic freedom in the world.

Now, there is the Economic Freedom Project which is:

"...dedicated to promoting a better understanding of the relationship between prosperity and economic freedom as vital to the continued progress of society. We hope that greater awareness about what drives prosperity will encourage individuals to protect and advance those principles that improve lives, and we seek to accomplish this by making transparent, rigorous, and consistently high-quality research accessible to the general public."

Economic freedom is critical, their website explains, because:

...it affects every aspect of an individual’s life. Living in a society with high levels of economic freedom leads to higher incomes, lower poverty, less unemployment, longer life expectancies, and cleaner environments, among a host of other benefits. More economic freedom improves well-being and leads to a higher quality of life.

Sadly, the United States - long one of the highest ranking nations on the economic freedom indexes - is experiencing decreased economic freedom and was recently surpassed on the rankings by Canada. This is primarily due to excessive government spending - far beyond our income, resulting in borrowing more than we can ever hope to repay - and excessive, burdensome government regulations - which make it difficult, if not impossible, to open new businesses, much less run an existing business in a profitable manner.

As our economic freedom falls, so will our quality of life, as this video from the Economic Freedom Project explains:

The Frasier Institute's report, "Economic Freedom of North America 2011", ranks the United States and Canada in three areas: 1) Size of Government, 2) Takings and Discriminatory Taxation and 3) Labor Market Freedom The report is for 2009 data.

According to their report, Ohio ranks 38th out of the 60 states and provinces with a rating of 6.3 on a 10-point scale for the all-government level. The all-government level includes federal, province/state and local/municipal impact.

On the subnational level (which excludes the federal governments), Ohio still has a score of 6.3, but falls to 47th with only New Mexico, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, New York and Alaska, along with seven Canadian provinces, ranking lower.

Clearly, Ohio can do more to increase its economic freedom ranking - which would do more for our 'quality of life' than any swimming pool, walking path or park ever would.

But if we want increased quality of life, we must have increased economic freedom - and it is our responsibility to ensure we hold our elected officials accountable for preserving - not infringing upon - our economic freedom.

The Economic Freedom Project is a good tool to help us in that regard and I hope you'll use their information and videos to educate yourself and others about why economic freedom is the best way to achieve our individual and societal goals.

1 comment:

Mad Jack said...

Thanks for the information, Maggie. I've got some reading to do.

I note that the number one position on the subnational list is South Dakota. My good friend Cody Williams owns the Teton River Traders gun store in Fort Pierre, SD. He bought out his partners and moved his store from downtown Pierre into a building he bought in Fort Pierre, and I think that was around 2006. In 2008 Cody told me he couldn't keep any guns in the store - he was amazed. This year he's having the biggest year ever - thanks to Obama trying to take everyone's guns away. I'm happy for him.

I note that when I was living in South Dakota back in 1999, the Governor referred to the SD legislatures as a bunch of idiots, I think mainly because they kept writing laws and he kept vetoing them.

I like SD and the way things are going in Ohio I may be moving back out there.

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