WASHINGTON, JAN. 10, 2013—“The global advance toward economic freedom has ground to a halt,” according to the editors of the 19th annual Index of Economic Freedom, released today by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal.
The world average score of 59.6 was only one-tenth of a point above the 2012 average. Since reaching a global peak in 2008, the editors note, economic freedom has continued to stagnate.
Among the 177 countries ranked in the 2013 Index, scores improved for 91 countries and declined for 78.
You can read the full report here. The headline in the announcement seems gloomy, but all is not lost. Some things are obvious without seeing the report. For example:
- North Korea
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
Seeing Singapore ranked number 2 reminds me of a scene from the movie 2016, a conversation between Dinesh D’Souza and George Obama. This Fox News article sets this up too.
Geoege Obama is the youngest of eight children sired by Barack Obama Sr. He lives in a shanty in the Huruma slum in Nairobi. He gets by on a few dollars a month. In 2010, George applied for a visa to come to the United States and was refused. His mother Jael Otieno lives in Atlanta. George rejects the anti-colonial philosophy that was espoused by Barack Obama Sr. Barack Obama Sr. and Barack Obama Jr. both share the anti-colonial view that blames Western colonial exploitation for the poverty and suffering of the Third World. Yet George doesn’t buy it. He observes that at the time of its independence in the early 1960s
Kenya was on an economic par with Malaysia or Singapore. Look where we are now, and where they are. They’re practically developed and industrialized, while Kenya is still a basket case. What’s our excuse for failure? We don’t have one. We’ve only got ourselves to blame.
George has experienced first-hand the empty rhetoric of the two Baracks, and he rejects it based on his actual experience of Third World poverty.
No wonder President Obama despises George.
A friend of mine lives near Atlanta and would have enjoyed the opportunity to have a beer and conversation with George, but not so much with his older brother.
One important feature of this report is the ability to see over the last five years what direction each country is going. One can see if a country has been moving toward more economic freedom or not. Below are five countries that are improving and the United States that is in decline.
Lithuania’s economic freedom score is 72.1, making its economy the 22nd freest in the 2013 Index. Its overall score rose 0.6 point due to a concerted effort to rein in government spending. Lithuania is ranked 12th out of 43 countries in the Europe region, and its overall score is well above the world and regional averages.
Business formation and operation take place without bureaucratic interference. Starting a business takes slightly less than the world averages of seven procedures and 30 days.
The overall tax burden is 16.5 percent of total domestic income. Government spending is equivalent to 39.3 percent of total domestic output.
Offering a wide range of financial services, the financial sector remains competitive and stable. Capital markets are small but function well.
Taiwan’s economic freedom score is 72.7, making its economy the 20th freest in the 2013 Index. Its score is 0.8 point higher than last year, reflecting gains in labor freedom, business freedom, and freedom from corruption. Taiwan is ranked 5th out of 41 economies in the Asia–Pacific region, and its overall score is higher than the world average.
With no minimum capital required, it takes only three procedures to start a company.
The overall tax burden equals 7.9 percent of total domestic income. Government spending is equivalent to 22.4 percent of GDP.
Foreign investment is generally welcome, and the overall investment regime has become more transparent and efficient./em>
The United Arab Emirates’ economic freedom score is 71.1, making its economy the 28th freest in the 2013 Index. Its score is 1.8 points higher than last year, reflecting substantial improvements in business freedom, management of government spending, freedom from corruption, and monetary freedom. The UAE is ranked 3rd out of 15 countries in the Middle East/North Africa region, and its overall score is higher than the world and regional averages.
Regulatory efficiency has improved. There is no minimum capital requirement for establishing a business, which takes much less than the world average of 30 days. Licensing requirements have been streamlined and are less costly.
The UAE has no income tax and no federal-level corporate tax. Different corporate tax rates exist for certain activities in some emirates. There is no general sales tax, and the overall tax burden is quite low at 7.1 percent of total domestic income. Government spending is equivalent to 22.3 percent of total domestic output. Large oil revenues have kept the government budget in surplus and public debt below 20 percent of GDP.
The modern and competitive financial sector provides a full range of services, but the state presence is considerable. Capital markets are open and vibrant.
Colombia’s economic freedom score is 69.6, making its economy the 37th freest in the 2013 Index. Its overall score is 1.6 points higher than last year, with improvements in half of the 10 economic freedoms including investment freedom, financial freedom, and the management of public spending. Colombia is ranked 5th out of 29 countries in the South and Central America/Caribbean region.
The overall regulatory framework has become more efficient, and business procedures have been streamlined. With no minimum capital required, launching a business costs about 7 percent of the level of average annual income.
The overall tax burden is equal to 14.4 percent of total domestic income. Government spending has stabilized at about 29 percent of total domestic output, with the budget deficit falling to 2.1 percent of GDP.
Foreign investment receives national treatment, and 100 percent foreign ownership is allowed in most sectors. Private institutions dominate the growing and well-capitalized financial sector.
Botswana’s economic freedom score is 70.6, making its economy the 30th freest in the 2013 Index. Its overall score is 1.0 point better than last year, due primarily to continuing improvements in freedom from corruption and the management of government spending. Botswana is ranked 2nd out of 46 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, and its overall score is well above the regional and world averages.
The overall regulatory environment encourages entrepreneurial activity. Launching a business costs less than 2 percent of the level of average annual income and requires no minimum capital.
The overall tax burden is equivalent to 30.7 percent of total domestic income. Government spending amounts to 34.1 percent of total domestic output, with budget deficits narrowing. Public debt remains under 20 percent of GDP.
Foreign investment has played a significant role in the privatization of state-owned enterprises. Most land is not available for purchase by foreign investors. The financial sector is one of Africa’s most advanced, and the Botswana Stock Exchange has been growing. There have been no bank failures, and the banking sector continues to expand.
The United States, with an economic freedom score of 76, has lost ground again in the 2013 Index. Its score is 0.3 point lower than last year, with declines in monetary freedom, business freedom, labor freedom, and fiscal freedom. The U.S. is ranked 2nd out of three countries in the North America region.
Over 100 new major federal regulations have been imposed on business operations since early 2009 with annual costs of more than $46 billion. Although core inflation remains muted, the failure to adhere to a rules-based monetary policy has introduced price distortions and long-term inflation risks.
The overall tax burden equals 24.8 percent of total domestic income. Total government spending continues to be around 42 percent of GDP. Budget deficits have exceeded $1 trillion in each year since 2009.
Investment freedom is hampered by some sectoral limits. Although detailed regulations have been emerging only gradually, the financial reforms adopted in 2010 are likely to increase costs and uncertainty, complicating the banking sector’s recovery.
Authored By Unified Patriots » pilgrim