We're Number 16! We're Number 16!
By David Henderson
Four years ago, when the then latest issue of Economic Freedom of the World was published, I wrote a post titled “We’re Number 10! We’re Number 10!” The reason: according to the study, the United States had fallen to 10th in the world in economic freedom.
By the time of the 2014 report, the United States had fallen to 12th, tied with the United Kingdom.
Last week, the latest issue of Economic Freedom of the World was released and it shows that the United States has fallen further: to number 16. The authors are James Gwartney, Robert Lawson, and Joshua Hall.
It comes out two months after I wrote a forthcoming article for The Independent Review in which I make predictions about world economies in the year 2065. I’m always skeptical of such exercises, but I did it anyway. I mention that article because here’s part of what I wrote that relates to the Economic Freedom measure:
9. Economic freedom in the United States, as measured by the Economic Freedom Index, currently showing that the United States is number 12 out of 152 countries ranked, will show (if the index is still computed in 2065) that the United States is at, or slightly below, twentieth place.
Later in the piece, I wrote:
Likely factors in the decline are increasing regulation of land use and housing supply so that more of the United States has the same extreme regulations that coastal California, Oregon, and Washington have, as well as more extreme regulation of the workplace, making it harder for employers and employees to agree on flexible work arrangements. Also, some other countries’ economic freedom is likely to increase. The U.S. economy will likely be at or slightly below twentieth place in 2065. Even if the U.S. level of economic freedom were to stay relatively constant, several economies in the top twenty will likely displace many established countries. And that would be alright.
Usually, when I make big-picture economic predictions, what I predict will happen does happen, but much more slowly than I expected. But a drop from number 12 to number 16 is halfway toward the drop I expected–by 2065!