According to the Heritage Foundation’s annual Index of Economic Freedom report released on Monday, Feb. 14, the U.S. fell to an all-time low, and the outlook for the future is “disturbing,” according to Heritage President Kevin Roberts.
“The decline of American economic freedom is serious cause for alarm and has real and tangible consequences for all Americans, especially low-income families and the working class,” said conservative analyst Roberts, according to Fox News.
In this year’s ranking out of 177 countries analyzed, the United States ranked 25th in Economic Freedom, up from 20th in 2021. On a scale of zero to 100, the country scored 72.1 points, a drop of 2.7 points.
The Index of Economic Freedom is calculated as a simple average of 12 different freedoms classified into four major groups, evaluating countries according to:
- The openness of markets
- Their rule of law
- The size of the government
- Regulatory efficiency.
By assigning a score between 0 and 100, where higher values indicate higher levels of freedom, categories such as property rights, judicial efficiency, fiscal pressure, presence of corruption, and tax burden, among others, are examined.
According to the index, Singapore ranks first among the 10 freest nations, followed by Switzerland, Ireland, New Zealand, Luxembourg, Taiwan, Estonia, the Netherlands, Finland, and Denmark.
And among the 10 least free nations, North Korea tops the list, followed by Venezuela, Cuba, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Eritrea, Iran, and Bolivia. Heritage also found that in China, “economic freedom remains almost non-existent.”
Robert also emphasized the stormy consequences of the Wuhan coronavirus for the U.S. and the world.
“Since early 2020, when the Chinese Communist Party unleashed the COVID-19 pandemic on the world, we have dealt with one of the greatest political, social and economic upheavals of the past century,” Roberts said.
“The lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people have been deeply disrupted, not just by the virus, but especially by draconian lockdowns, intrusive public health mandates and restrictions on commerce and trade. Trillions of dollars in new federal spending have further weakened our economy and caused a historic spike in inflation,” he emphasized.
The COVID-19 shutdowns also produced a supply crunch, which triggered a 7.5% increase in consumer prices in January from a year earlier, pushing the annual inflation rate to a new 40-year high, according to the latest report released by the Labor Department.
Based on the new rates, Roberts opined that “It’s time for the U.S. government to get its fiscal house in order, unleash freedom here at home and help Americans flourish once again through self-governance.”
“We have an opportunity to speak to the very real concerns of Americans struggling in an economy where they are increasingly losing not just their freedom, but evermore of their hard-earned saving,” he added.
However, the report also indicated that the 2022 Index experienced a drop globally, as pandemic restrictions inevitably reduced global economic freedom.