In his recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, Professor David Skeel of the University of Pennsylvania Law School pointed out:
No one doubts that the coming election will be the most important referendum on the size and nature of government in a generation. But another issue is nearly as important and has gotten far less attention: our crumbling commitment to the rule of law.… A sad irony of [it] is that rule-of-law values have been one of America’s greatest contributions to world-wide economic development in recent decades.… In the years after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, American markets served as a model of the importance of privatization and protection of property rights as the nations of Eastern Europe charted a new economic future. Now we increasingly are the ones that need to learn these lessons.… Rule-of-law matters cannot be separated entirely from questions about the size and role of government. The more government grows, the harder it is to preserve rule-of-law virtues like transparency and clear rules of the game.
The troubling trend of weakening the rule of law is well documented in The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom. The U.S.’s indicators for the rule of law, which measure property rights and freedom from corruption, have eroded dramatically over the last five years.
As Americans look to their future, they should seek to advance the rule of law and economic freedom, two key elements necessary for a strong, growing, job-creating economy.