In recent days, some blogging friends from the left have commented on the U.S. dropping from “free” to “mostly free” in the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom, the Heritage Foundation’s data driven policy guide.
The Huffington Post picks up on the long-term erosion of economic freedom in which both political parties have been complicit:
Though the analysis of American freedom acknowledges a longer-term trend stretching back to the end of the Bush administration, [the Index] seems to put the lion’s share of blame on the policy initiatives of President Obama
Indeed! As reported in the 2010 Index, it was in late 2008, under President Bush, that a threatened financial meltdown triggered some hasty and dangerous Washington policy decisions to bail out large firms. Unfortunately, President Obama has doubled down and more on those policies, with unprecedented levels of government spending, most favoring big finance, big auto companies, big labor unions, and now big pharma and medical insurance companies.
The blog in the “War Room” of Salon unfortunately seems to miss the point entirely: “Freedom’s just another word for letting corporations do whatever they want.” To the contrary, for the editors of the Index, one of the prime reasons to push for economic freedom is to avoid the pernicious tendency for government intervention that sides WITH the interests of big corporations and special interests rather than with the average man or woman. The pattern we see, in the United States and around the world, is government intervention tending to support the interests of those who are already politically and economically powerful. The rhetoric may be populist, but actual government programs almost always favor the status quo. Economic freedom is the antidote, promoting competition, equal treatment for all, and the empowerment of the individual.
Anthony Kim Contributed to this post.