Tuesday, January 04, 2005

According to study, US drops out of 10 most free economies

As reported in The Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal, the United States is no longer in the top ten countries ranked as most free in the Heritage Foundation's and The Wall Street Journal's Index of Economic Freedom.

Apparently, the US lost out due to
the U.S.'s fiscal burden, which imposes high marginal tax rates for individuals and very high marginal corporate tax rates. In terms of corporate taxation as an element of economic freedom, the U.S. ranks a lowly 112th out of the 155 countries scored, and its top individual tax rate ranks only slightly better at 82nd. U.S. government expenditures as a share of GDP increased less in 2003 than in 2002, but the rise since 2001 is what explains the U.S.'s decline in score over the period.
The US is still in the top 15, so we're nowhere near the world's unfree leader -- North Korea in 155th place -- but the country can do better once Congress and the President get their spending habit in check.

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