Friday, January 07, 2005

Doesn't Surprise Me a Bit

The Heritage Foundation's 2005 Index of Economic Freedom shows the United States at 13th place and Canada, predictably, at 16th. That Canada would lag behind the United States in such an index is no surprise. Sadly, that neither country makes it into the top ten, or is positioned at numbers one and two, which is where they should be, is also no longer surprising.

What has happened?

Can it be that Estonia (!) is really in 4th place and that Chile ranks 11th, each well ahead of Canada and the United States?.

Sure it can. For decades, there has been lots of buzz about business deregulation in North America and about reducing confiscatory and counter-productive tax rates on businesses large and small. There has been some improvement, sure. In Canada, we can thank the Canadian Federation of Independent Business for some of the improvement. I'm sure that there is a similar organization in the United States. Still, for each baby-step taken to ease the problem, there is a Bunyonesque stride towards more invasive government regulation.

I will save specifics for another time. I just want to point out a couple of things here:

1. With the massive national debts facing Canada and the United States, where will the money come from, via taxes, if businesses all go broke? No businesses, no employees, no tax revenue. Simple.

2. Government is never the solution to any problem. Government is the problem. Politicians and bureaucrats -- get the hell out of the way and leave us alone. If we don't offer goods and services at reasonable prices, in a friendly and efficient manner, our customers will desert us. If we have an unsafe or unpleasant work environment, no-one will work for us. And we are not sheltered from being sued for just about anything, as in most cases are politicians and bureaucrats. Can we sue, for example, politicians and bureaucrats responsible for numerous boondoggles, costing billions and billions of dollars, at every level of government? Taxpayers have to cover the costs of those obscenities out of their hard-earned salaries.

No, we can't sue. But we should be able to. Maybe that would help.

Just a thought.


  1. Someone over at Vox posted a comment about an earlier copy of this report. There was a great deal of back and forth on the subject, but the main point seemed to be missed. Economic freedom is meaningless with out other basic freedoms.

    Consider Singapore. Now doubt it looks like a great place to make abuck or two. Singapore is a wonderfully clean and well ordered civil society. It's a great place to visit in Asia. Live there, not on your life. Singapore is perhaps the best example of an Orwellian society in action. The government monitors everything and punishes for infractions accordingly.

    I was born with the inalienable rights to Life, Liberty and Property. Having one without the other is meaningless.

    I can't speak to Estonia or Chile. But I would bet that a quicklook at the CIA World FactBook might shed some light on them also.


  2. You are absolutely correct, Pope. As the first leader of the Libertarian Party of Canada and the writer of the first domestic policy platform of the party, I am very aware of what individual rights are and I too do not want to be without them. Our rights to do what we want, where we want and with whom we want are diminishing too in Canada and the United States. That scares me.

    It sounds like it may scare you too. Yes we are more free than many other places on earth, but the freedoms we have are diminishing and it will be some time before that fabled pendulum swings back the other way.