No, not the Broncos who will have their hands full next week with Indianapolis's starters...
I'm discussing our nation's ranking as the eleventh freest nation in the Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom.
Policy makers who pay lip service to fighting poverty would do well to grasp the link between economic freedom and prosperity. This year the Index finds that the freest economies have a per-capita income of $29,219, more than twice that of the "mostly free" at $12,839, and more than four times that of the "mostly unfree." Put simply, misery has a cure and its name is economic freedom.
So, it is bittersweet to see the US ranked 11th, based on a high corporate tax burden and regulatory environment. I am glad to see freedom on the march (my beloved Ireland is kicking our ass at 5th...) but I don't plan to leave the US and hate to see the light of the world slide.
I read an article in The Economist that claims "A growing body of evidence suggests that the meritocratic ideal is in trouble in America." I did not share its pessimistic outlook. The main focus is on "income inequality" which to me is a sign of meritocracy, not a warning sign. The dynastic/not dynamic look at the political class was more worrisome -- the blood of our candidates does run pretty blue, but I don't think that is on the rise.
Before discarding the whole article, some points are well worth considering. Some of the "stickiness" impeding social mobility is the product of hyper-successful upward mobility in the 20th Century. Those people now naturally seek to entrench themselves and their children, drawing the gates behind them on some level.
My conclusion? Mirabile dictu, it's partisan! It is too easy to believe in our freedom and its concomitant prosperity. Yet each new tax and regulation draws us more toward France than Hong Kong. The GOP has been maligned as a vehicle for the religious right, but I say this study proves the real and more-present danger is a slow, eroding socialism as Democrats tax, regulate, control, and coerce a little more every Congress. Time to turn the State back.