Republican- and Democrat-approved subsidies for campaign donors in the ethanol and sugar industries also are as crooked as sidewinders. Solyndra’s $535 million contributions-for-loans-for-bankruptcy scandal could have been scripted in Caracas.
No. 7 Chile has surpassed America on economic freedom, confirming the wisdom of its reforms — including its social-security system’s wildly popular and highly successful personal-account option. These were inspired by the ideas and disciples of the late, great economist and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman.
Even No. 8 Mauritius is economically freer than America, the first time an African nation has left the U.S. behind.
Thankfully, America’s economy is not repressed, like those of the ten least free countries: No. 170 Equatorial Guinea, followed by Iran, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burma, Venezuela, Eritrea, Libya, Cuba, Zimbabwe, and — dead last — No. 179 North Korea. Alas, America is sinking toward these economic dungeons, not climbing away from them.
How can the U.S. reverse course and restore economic freedom? Uncle Sam should put down the fiscal fork and stop devouring national income. Repealing and replacing Obamacare, junking Dodd-Frank, enacting an optional 15 percent flat tax, and modernizing the slowly imploding Social Security system via voluntary personal accounts all would turbocharge U.S. economic freedom. So would grounding Helicopter Ben Bernanke and hiring Steve Forbes. The publisher would unplug Washington’s monetary printing press and, instead, implement sound money — ideally through the gold standard. This would trump Bernanke’s technique: prying monetary targets from a hat.
Free-marketeers should campaign for economic liberty and hammer President Obama, the fiscally reckless Bush-Rove administration, and congressional spendthrifts and uber-regulators of both parties. They jointly have battered this formerly pride-inducing aspect of American exceptionalism. Advocates of economic freedom should explain how to prevent the U.S. from slouching out of the Top 10 and begin ascending toward the No. 1 spot — right where America belongs.
— New York commentator Deroy Murdock is a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University.