United States Economic Ranking Drops … Again
In mid-September the Frasier Institute released it’s 2012 report on Economic Freedom of the World. The list is a ranking of countries world-wide and how well they do in terms of economic freedom. The United States went from a country who in 2008 was ranked number seven, but in 2010 dropped to number ten. Now it is ranked number eighteen.
At first one would assume that the drops in the United States’ ranking is due to the policies of Barack Obama. However, if one digs deeper there is blame to go around no matter who is in charge. Obama does deserve much of the blame but so does President George W. Bush and Congressional Republicans. From 1980 until 2000 the United States consistently ranked third for economic freedom on the index. When President George W. Bush was in office for the first five years of his Presidency, the United States dropped to eighth place, and then another 2 places to tenth under his watch. The slips in ranking began with Bush and continued with Obama who has inflicted even more damage on the economy.
The 2012 Economic Freedom of the World report covers the year 2010. But if some countries move up and other countries stand still (which seems to be the case with the U.S.) then said country falls in the ranking. The report notes that on average other countries have gone up in their economic freedom which drops the U.S. in relation to others.
The more accurate picture comes from the absolute scores and demonstrates some surprising results. For example, the U.S. ranking was first done in 1970 in which it was 7.60 at the time and rose until it stood at 8.50 in 2000. After the election of President George W. Bush it fell to 8.44 then, save for two, it fell every single year thereafter resulting in a 2008 score of 7.99. I think it appropriate to attribute the score of any one year to the Administration of the year before as most factors involved in the score are set in advance and not on an as-you-go basis. Therefore, 2009 is the last budget year of Bush policy when the United States’ economic freedom was ranked at 7.72.
Due to the two year delay and the release of the 2012 report it covers 2010, and not this year. In 2008 the U.S. score was 7.99 and in 2009 fell to 7.72 which is the result of a culmination of both Bush’s and Obama’s policies intermixed. So far only one year includes only Obama’s budget and policies covering 2009 & 2010 indexes in which the U.S. ranking dropped from 7.72 to 7.70. President Obama did contribute to our economic decline but it started in 2000 under Bush and at the time the data is available it was only for 2009 & 2010. During that period the decrease was 0.02 points, whereas under Bush our ranking dropped nearly one percent.
Obama isn’t in favor of economic freedom and I am not saying he is better than President Bush. The spending for our response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks along with the bailouts enacted during the Bush years greatly contributed to the decline. The data I cite does not include damage done from the entirety of Obama’s policies and is not included in the United States’s ranking – yet. It will make it into the timeline in the next two years when Frasier issues it’s next report in 2014. Hopefully, by then Obama will be out of office and much of the damage to our economy inflicted during the Bush and Obama years will have been reversed.
Not surprisingly, Canada jumped up to the top five in the list mainly due to the economic policies of Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien who, according to The National Post, reigned in the country’s budget more than the United States under President Ronald Reagan and Great Britain under Prime Minster Margaret Thatcher.
Despite the set backs during the Bush and Obama years, I am confident the United States will get her groove back. Thanks to the precedent set by President Ronald Reagan, there are many generations of Americans who remember the prosperity experienced during the Reagan years which was a refreshing change from the years of economic stagnation seen under Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter.
Despite the obvious evidence of our ranking dropping under his watch, I do give President Bush somewhat of break since the United States had to respond to terrorist attacks. Unlike the current President, George W. Bush loves America and did his best to ensure that the country was safe from terrorists and, rightly, responded with necessary force. The people who cast ballots in November remember the period when the United States was an economic power house and, hopefully, will follow through and repudiate the policies of the current Administration by replacing President Obama with Governor Mitt Romney. If Romney becomes President there is no telling how much different he will be compared to Barack Obama. However, Romney’s election would be a necessary symbolic gesture that the American people will choose economic freedom over economic stagnation each and every time.