How “economically free” would you consider yourself?

During law school at Washburn Law School in Kansas, many other students and I took advantage of what the school called “Lunch and Learns.” Lunch and Learns were one hour lectures given by different types of people on a variety of topics. Naturally, they were all relevant to legal education, and many of the conferences I attended were interesting. However, if I’m honest, the conferences were very well attended because lunch was always offered. There’s no better way to energize a group of poor law students than the prospect of a free lunch. However, one of the lectures that has always caught my attention was given by a gentleman from the Cato Institute. For those who have never heard of it, the Cato Institute is a public policy research organization, or in other words, a “think tank.” The Cato Institute focuses on the principles of individual liberties, limited government, free markets, and peace.

The reason I remember that particular day was that the speaker asked us how “economically free” we all were. I remember thinking to myself, “I have no idea what this idiot is talking about, I’ll just sit here and eat my free Jimmy Johns.” But the presentation from him that followed really got me thinking and I learned some valuable information that afternoon.

This morning I came across an article that brought me back to that conference from a couple of years ago, the title said US Slips to 12th in Economic Freedom. Essentially, economic freedom is a measure of how free the citizens of the various countries of the world are to engage in business, commerce, and how much their property and legal rights are protected by the rule of law. The test is made up of 5 factors: 1. Size of government; 2. Legal structure and security of property rights; 3. Access to money; 4. Freedom of international trade and; 5. Regulation of Credit, Work and Business. Based on these five factors, we can determine which countries perform better economically and which ones can create and generate more wealth.

What was even more interesting in the article to me was the reason for the decline of the United States, which has to do with the legal structure of the country. This is especially troubling because I had always been taught that our legal system and adhering to the rule of law is one of the things that sets the US apart from other places, it was one of the things that made it so great. Now, the United States ranks 36th in this category. The report states that “in a major decree, the United States has experienced a significant shift away from the rule of law toward a highly regulated, politicized, and heavily policed ​​state.”

A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article titled Effects of the Great Recession, many Americans still feel the pressure on their pocketbooks daily, they have less and less confidence in the ability of this country to deliver the “Dream” it has long promised. Well, maybe things like how “economically free” we are have a big impact on you and me. Perhaps we should be a little more attentive and involved in what is happening in our country. In the words of Mike Flynn, author of the article, “a balanced federal budget is meaningless and meaningless if the rule of law has been subverted. No election or administration alone can repair the damage. That is a task that must be tackled by a generation. .” I guess that means you and I have to get started right away.

For more information on the annual index that measures how economically free we are, click here.

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