Morning Bell: Americans Call for Change As U.S. Becomes Less Economically Free

Michael Franc /

Scott Brown’s shocking victory in Massachusetts on Tuesday was a shot across the bow of the liberal ruling class in Washington and declared one clear message: Americans do not like the direction the country is heading, and they’re not going to stand for it, even in the solidly-blue Bay State.

The United States’ direction today is a dangerous one, even when compared to the country’s state of affairs just one year ago, as revealed in the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom, which we are releasing this morning in a joint project with The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. The Index analyzes just how economically “free” a country is, and this year America saw a steep and significant decline, enough to make it drop altogether from the “free” category, the first time this has happened in the 16 years we’ve been publishing these indexes. The United States dropped to “mostly free.”

The drop in rankings is notable as it comes in the same week that marks the one-year anniversary of President Barack Obama’s inauguration. By any standard, over the last year Americans’ overall wealth and prosperity has continued to decline. Americans, in fact, are more likely than ever to believe that their children and grandchildren will be worse off than the current generation. They believe future generations will live in a less prosperous and less economically mobile America. The traditional American faith in upward economic mobility – widely understood to be the American Dream – seems more elusive now than ever.