The Wall Street Journal is mourning the drop of the United States from the top 10 “Economically Free” countries – as measured by the Wall Street Journal:
The U.S., with its strong property rights, low inflation and competitive banking and finance laws, scores well in most. But worrying developments like Sarbanes-Oxley in the category of regulation and aggressive use of antidumping law in trade policy have kept it from keeping pace with the best performers in economic freedom…Most alarming is the U.S.’s fiscal burden, which imposes high marginal tax rates for individuals and very high marginal corporate tax rates.
Of course, it’s not news that the Journal sees the ability of wealthiest in our society to merge, spend, downsize, outsource, dump, poison, union-bust, scam, and exploit with impunity as a measure of economic freedom. It’s long past time for the left to take back the language of economic freedom to discuss the meaningful control over one’s own life which is fostered by the economic security the Journal is doing everything it can to destroy for working Americans. It’s not seemly, of course, for the Journal to appear to be waging class war on behalf of the wealthiest in America, so readers get the obligatory claim that shredding social insurance and regulation is good for the poor:
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.
Funny thing is, the US (supposedly the 13th most economically free country) had a 17% poverty rate in 2004, while Norway (all the way down at #30) was at 6.4%. So if you believe, as most Americans do and even the Journal (itself “pay[ing] lip service to fighting poverty”) claims to, that poverty is a blight on a decent society, think again before trying the Journal‘s prescription.
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