At The Huffington Post Nelson Davis, Executive Producer of MAKING IT! Minority Success Stories, describes his recent discovery of The Heritage Foundation’s 2010 Index of Economic Freedom. He came across the Index for the first time this year and while surprised by the results—showing a decrease in economic freedom in the U.S.—he found himself agreeing with the analysis. Growing up along the Canadian border, he had always assumed that America was the world’s leader in economic freedom:
You see, I grew up on the Canadian border in Niagara Falls, New York and I worked in radio and television in Canada’s capital, Ottawa for over ten years. My first business ownership was there when, with a partner, we opened Fat Albert’s Subs and Pizza. While every country has its entrepreneurial class and awe inspiring success stories, I never thought of our frigidly frolicking neighbors as being really business friendly. In fact, a feeling of heavy taxation and questionable national priorities is what prompted me to return to the U.S. and to work my trade here in the much warmer Golden State.
But now, with this year’s Index, he’s had to adjust that view and begin to think about the root causes:
So what did the U.S., a country built on the entrepreneurial spirit, do to lose our footing? According to The Heritage Foundation, we are now lacking in the areas of monetary freedom and property rights. Our government’s reactions to the economic and financial crises of the past couple of years are seen as interventionist. They say that the Washington gang’s actions discourage entrepreneurship, accelerate job losses, and weigh us down with record setting deficits. In countries such as South Korea, Germany, and Poland (yes, Poland) they defied the economic pressures and maintained or expanded economic freedom as measured by Heritage.
I agree with the Heritage Foundation folks that private and free enterprise does the best job of reducing poverty. Heavily regulated economies have an internal friction that slows or prevents forward movement and puts a chill on ambition. The public sector simply does not create value in the marketplace or incentivize its participants to be better and faster. High rank elected officials often talk about change, but they are really mired in the status quo.
What America needs is a return to the economic freedom that we have traditionally enjoyed. As Davis says, “We should be humbled by the fact that the economic freedom that lifted America to be the most prosperous country in the world is being systematically eroded and compromised.” The only way to turn this around is to reverse course, unburden entrepreneurs, and let the private sector do what it does best—create jobs and lasting growth.