“Your vital signs are good. And your blood tests came back fine. But your heart is the weakest it’s been in the past five years.”
How confident would you feel about your long-term health if that’s what your doctor told you during your annual physical?
Probably about as confident as US economists right about now.
[ctt title=”Economic freedom is the heartbeat of a healthy country.” tweet=”@ValueAligned has the prescription for better #economicfreedom in America!” coverup=”Ud993″] And according to the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, the US’s economic freedom level has steadily dropped during the past five years.
The effects are likely reaching far beyond your wallet.
What is Economic Freedom?
Cleaner environments. Higher literacy rates. Longer life expectancy.
What economic freedom really affects—and represents—has to do with so much more than your personal finances.
That’s why the Heritage Foundation annually ranks each country’s level of economic freedom on a scale from 0 to 100 based on ten key factors. (For more on the methodology behind the Index of Economic Freedom, click here).
The recently released 2015 report confirms that the US’s downward trend is, unfortunately, still trending.
Where We Stand
We may be a first-world country, but we’re second-tier when it comes to economic freedom. The only countries that the Heritage Foundation considers truly economically free in 2015 are Australia, Hong Kong, Switzerland, New Zealand, and Singapore.
With 76.2 points, the US is considered “mostly free.” Which isn’t bad, if you take it at face value. But just like many health test results, economic freedom rankings are best analyzed in the long-term view.
During the past five years, economic freedom in the US has dropped by 1.6 points, putting us on par with countries such as Chile, Estonia, and Mauritius. That’s not the company we want to keep…
Prescription for the Future
The good news? There’s a proven, 3-step cure for our steady decline in economic freedom.
(1) Stopping unnecessary corporate regulations
US businesses have lost $70 billion every year since 2009 because of hundreds of new regulations. There have been 135 new regulations in the past year alone! All at the expense of entrepreneurship, innovation, and job growth.
(2) Lowering tax rates for corporations and individuals
Did you know that the US has one of the world’s highest corporate tax rates, at 35%? Individuals in the highest income bracket pay even more, at 39%. High tax rates such as these tempt some businesses and business owners to shift their focus from growth to survival.
(3) Reducing government spending
Federal government spending is funded through tax revenue alone. The more the government spends, the more that corporations and individuals have to sacrifice through tax dollars. Those dollars represent opportunities that contribute to soft power for the US and a higher quality of life here at home.
Taking the Next Step
The US’s economic freedom ranking isn’t just an abstract number. It correlates directly to various factors that affect your quality of life, including your access to healthcare, your life expectancy, and more. This number affects YOU, your family, and everyone you know.
What can you do to help raise economic freedom in the US?
Write to your local and national representatives and remind them of the prescription for success: (1) fewer corporate regulations, (2) lower taxes, and (3) reduced government spending.
Let them know that economic freedom is more than just a number. It makes a huge difference in all facets of your life.
To learn even more about how economic freedom is affecting your personal financial health, you can also set up a complimentary financial check-up with me. Sign up here for a time that’s convenient for you.
Remember, this affects all of us. Take the next step to hold your representatives and yourself accountable for your quality of life—and the quality of life of your loved ones.