Not so many years ago, Americans could be heard snickering at our Canadian friends. “Socialists” was an epithet I heard muttered about Canadians and their political system.
That’s changed. Something electrifying has happened, a new dawn for Canadians. Nowadays, “wrong-way” Canada is beating the pants off the United States in the pursuit of economic freedom.
How did this happen? When did it start? Here’s the remarkable story about a turnaround that now has Canadians snickering at Americans.
Each year, the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal do the free world a huge service, compiling and publishing the global Index of Economic Freedom. This tells us which countries are truly free and provide their citizens the freedom to “work, produce, consume and invest” in whatever way they choose. The index uses 10 benchmarks to reveal which nations revere economic freedom, and by how much.
In the last five years, America has lost ground compared to Canada. Not only that, America has dropped in the worldwide rankings from fifth to 10th. So what happened about five years ago to push the United States in the wrong direction? What’s behind our drop from “Free” to “Mostly Free”?
Look for the answer in the rise of Barack Obama, who became president five years ago. Skeptical? Try these facts on for size:
- Over-regulation has foisted more than 400 new, top-down federal regulations on American businesses in the last four years, with dire consequences and higher costs.
- Increased bureaucratic federal spending rose to over 25 percent of gross domestic product, public debt has eclipsed 100 percent of that benchmark, and deficits have surpassed $1 trillion every year since 2009.
- This bloated government and huge deficit spending — we borrow 40 cents for every dollar we spend — have led to the slowest economic recovery in 70 years.
- There has been a lack of U.S. leadership in world affairs, as this president’s administration has denounced “American exceptionalism” and reduced military might.
- America’s economy has stagnated while the engine of world growth — trade flows — has sputtered.
- Ignoring the rule of law too many times, and selectively enforcing laws, Obama routinely suspends enforcement of laws he dislikes.
- Destructive, arbitrary financial regulations like the Dodd-Frank Wall Street “reform” act have increased uncertainty, put businesses in a holding pattern and stymied new investment.
- Obamacare has spawned steep costs, higher taxes, regulations and legal liabilities.
- Obama’s populist doctrines have misused government power to redistribute wealth, ever-expand entitlements and control whole industries.
- Obama has used executive orders to create Obamalaws outside the legislative process.
You need look no further than Obama’s Washington, D.C., to account for the steady loss of America’s economic freedom five years in a row. The drop means America is moving away from being free, and moving toward the outskirts of economic freedom.
Freedom is not just another word; it’s a living thing that can die. Too many of us may not think about its value until it slips away. Freedom’s opposite is strangling regulation. Freedom’s antithesis is Big Brother government “protecting” people from the distresses caused by their own decisions.
Independence Day has reminded us that we are what we believe in. If you truly believe in freedom, add it to your bucket list to confront its destroyers.