Over the past 20 years, the Index of Economic Freedom, a data-driven policy guide published by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal, has emphasized that the right policies for economic growth must be fought for with enduring commitment. In recent years, Australia has cemented a spot among the world leaders in economic freedom, and on Thursday, July 17, there were two good examples of why.

Bucking the trend toward expensive but ineffective regulatory climate posturing, Australia became the world’s first developed nation to rebel against the cost of climate scare-mongering by dismantling its carbon tax law that put a price on greenhouse-gas emissions. Prime Minister Tony Abbott noted:

[The carbon] tax that you voted to get rid of is finally gone, a useless destructive tax which damaged jobs, which hurt families’ cost of living and which didn’t actually help the environment is finally gone.

Equally notably, on the same day when Australia’s carbon tax was abolished, trade minister Andrew Robb reminded the world of the practical importance of unilateral tariff reduction. He succinctly remarked:

We’ve seen over the last thirty years in Australia that tariffs are down on average 2.7 per cent across the economy. A lot of that was done unilaterally—we didn’t wait for the rest of the world and it’s one of the reasons that we’ve had uninterrupted growth for 23 years, because we are a very open economy. We’ve got to drive it further, we’ve got to be more competitive but so does the rest of the world.

No surprise that Australia has shown enviable economic resilience and strength, while America—which has declined in economic freedom seven straight years and now can’t even break into the Index’s top 10—is on virtual life support due to the big-government interventionist policies of the Obama Administration.

It’s long past time for Americans to reclaim their lost economic freedom from statist and protectionist politicians in Washington. Who will be America’s Tony Abbott?