The newly released Economic Report of the president from the Council of Economic Advisors mentions “inequality” 235 times and “freedom” just once—and that’s with respect to freedom not even in the United States, but in Malaysia and Vietnam!
As The Heritage Foundation’s 2016 Index of Economic Freedom demonstrates, more freedom is correlated with higher incomes, longer lifespans, better protection of the environment, and increased technological innovation. These benefits accrue to all Americans: rich, poor, and in between.
Unfortunately, economic freedom has been on a downward trend in the United States.
Instead of focusing on reducing inequality—which can be achieved by making the poor poorer, as long as the rich are made poorer, too—the United States should instead promote economic freedom to unleash new levels of opportunity and prosperity.
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher articulated best why focusing on inequality instead of freedom has dire consequences when she responded to a member of parliament’s question in 1990,
“The honorable Gentleman is saying that he would rather that the poor were poorer, provided that the rich were less rich. That way one will never create the wealth for better social services, as we have. What a policy.”