Tracking America’s Decline

Sep. 30, 2013
by Bob Adelmann

For years, both the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation have published studies purporting to measure just how much freedom countries around the world enjoy, based on a number of indices. Heritage tracks how closely countries hew to the rule of law, how they apply principles of limited government, how onerous the regulatory state is, and how extensively open and free markets are embraced.

Cato, on the other hand, looks at how much personal choice each country’s citizens enjoy, how free they are to engage in voluntary exchange, and how secure their rights in private property are.

Both have recently published their results for 2013, based on the latest available data. The news isn’t good. In some cases, it is catastrophic.

Heritage gives the US a score of 76, the lowest score since 2000. It blames Obama and his cadre of fascist czars:

Under Democratic President Barack Obama, the federal system of government, [originally] designed to reserve significant powers to the state and local levels, has been strained by the national government’s expansion….

Dynamic entrepreneurial growth is stifled by ever-more-bloated government and a trend toward cronyism that erodes the rule of law….

Cato is equally blunt in its assessment of America’s decline:

Throughout most of the period from 1980 to 2000, the United States ranked as the world’s third-freest economy, behind Hong Kong and Singapore….

By 2005, the US ranking had slipped to 8th. The slide has continued. The United States placed 16th in 2010 and 19th in 2011.

But it’s the rule of law that has suffered the most. The decline in Cato’s index of America’s Legal System and Property Rights has been calamitous:

In 2000, the 9.23 rating of the United States was the ninth highest in the world. But by 2011, [it] had slid to 6.93, placing the United States 38th worldwide … [and] tied with Venezuela as the largest reduction among the [185] countries rated….

The increased use of eminent domain to transfer [private] property to powerful political interests, the ramifications of the wars of terrorism and drugs, and the violation of the property rights of bondholders in the auto bailout case have all weakened the tradition of strong adherence to the rule of law in the United States….

To a large degree, the United States has experienced a significant move away from [the] rule of law and toward a highly regulated, politicized state.

For observers of America’s decline, this is no surprise. It is the result of deliberate efforts dating back decades to bring America to her knees so that she will be no different from any other socialized state. It was necessary so that she could be “integrated” and “merged” into the new world order. All one needs to do is search for the “Reece Committee” to discover all he needs to know about how far back the effort to weaken the US goes. That committee concluded:

Some of the larger foundations have directly supported “subversion” in the true meaning of that term – namely, the process of undermining some of our vitally protective concepts and principles. They have actively supported attacks upon our social and governmental system and financed the promotion of socialism and collectivist ideas.

Behind these foundations was the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), which the Reece Committee pointed out was “in essence an agency of the United States Government” and that its “productions are not objective but are directed overwhelmingly at promoting a globalist concept.”

Ed Griffin did yeoman’s work in exposing all of this, for those interested in pursuing the matter further.

But here’s the good news. Finally, at long last, Americans are beginning to wake up. At the same time as Cato and Heritage issued their reports, numerous national polls are discovering that US citizens don’t like where we’re headed. These are not fringe polls, but Bloomberg, CBS News/New York Times, NBC News/Wall Street Journal, ABC News/Washington Post, Gallup, Pew and others. What they are showing is an astounding percentage – some showing 75 percent – of people “dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time.” And they appear to be blaming Obama, with dissatisfaction with his presidency rising above his approval ratings for the first time since 2008.

This unhappiness is flowing into the debate over Obamacare, the debt ceiling, and the Continuing Resolution (CR), which expires tonight. For the first time in memory, Senators and Representatives are standing up against the media onslaught and denigration and saying “no.”

It’s something to behold. It’s late in the game. But it’s certainly welcome.



The Cato Institute: Economic Freedom of the World

The Cato Institute: Executive Summary of Cato report Direction of the Country

Bloomberg: Americans Turn on Washington, 68% Say Wrong Track in Poll

Bloomberg News National Poll

The Heritage Foundation: 2013 Index of Economic Freedom

The Heritage Foundation: About the Index

The Heritage Foundation: Summary of the US

The Heritage Foundation: The report on the US

The Reece Committee

Source Watch: Tax-exempt Foundations

Reality Zone: Ed Griffin’s interview with Norman Dodd

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