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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

This Just In: America No Longer 'Free' Country

This Just In: America No Longer 'Free' Country
David Knowles Writer

(April 6) -- How free is "mostly free"?

The Heritage Foundation, a self-described conservative think tank that espouses a free-market, small-government ideology, today released its annual Index of Economic Freedom World Rankings. And by its metrics, America's status has dropped from "free" to "mostly free."

Ranking countries throughout the world in 10 categories, the index concludes that the United States is now the eighth most economically free nation, down two spots from last year. Hong Kong ranked No. 1, while North Korea, which was categorized as "repressed," took the bottom rung.

Only seven countries actually rated as "free" on the index, which was released in conjunction with The Wall Street Journal (owned by conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corp.).

The largest factor in the Heritage Foundation's demotion of the U.S. is the rise in government spending, especially under the Obama administration.

"The national government's role in the economy, already expanding under President George W. Bush, has grown sharply under the administration of President Barack Obama, who took office in January of 2009," the report read. "Economic growth, which collapsed in 2008, had resumed by the second half of 2009, but legislative proposals for large and expensive new government programs on health care and energy use (climate change) have increased prospects for significant economic disruptions and raised concerns about the long-term health of the economy."

Beating out the United States in terms of economic freedom were, in descending order: Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Switzerland and Canada.

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