Why U.S. policymakers must make economic freedom their top priority


Senator Mike Lee this week joined Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts for an important speech and timely discussion on the importance of economic freedom.

At the March 1 event at Heritage titled “America Needs Policies for Prosperity More Than Ever,” the two policy experts emphasized why preserving and promoting economic freedom should always be a political priority. absolute.

The Heritage Foundation’s 2022 Index of Economic Freedom, an annual global study that compares countries’ economic governance and competitiveness, underscores the urgent need for America to change its political course.

The United States fell to 25th in the 2022 index ranking, its lowest ranking on record. The decline in economic freedom in the United States, which has been driven by our deteriorating fiscal position and exacerbated by ongoing record inflation, is a serious cause for concern because it has real and tangible consequences for consumers. and American producers.

Yet the Biden administration continues to forge ahead to implement a sweeping government program that would add trillions to the debt, raise taxes and further centralize federal power over the economy.

In reminding us of what policy steps should be taken to remedy the unfortunate state of the US economy, Roberts and Lee, R-Utah, wrote a joint op-ed:

Economic freedom still works. Even amid the social upheaval of a pandemic, there remain strong correlations between countries’ economic freedom scores and their quality of life, as measured in terms of per capita income, health, education, environmental quality, technological innovation, democratic governance and adherence to the rule of law.

They further noted:

The COVID-19 pandemic has no more redeemed or vindicated state policies than other crises that past generations of politicians have exploited to advance them, from the Great Depression to the Great Recession to the harrowing upheavals that globalization has inflicted on American working-class communities.

Free enterprise is not the cause of these challenges. This is the solution.

Unfortunately, misguided and counterproductive measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in many countries have undermined economic freedom, with global average economic freedom measurably declining, according to the 2022 Index.

For those who truly value freedom and prosperity, this is no time to hesitate. Perhaps the most crucial lesson of recent years is that the proven superiority and value of freedom must be firmly reiterated and passed on to future generations.

As Ed Feulner, founder and former chairman of The Heritage Foundation, has often observed, “there are no permanent defeats or permanent victories, just permanent battles”.

Indeed, the struggle for freedom is a struggle that must be renewed in each generation. If we are to have lasting prosperity and thriving civil societies, we need to look beyond the next political cycle and determine what we stand for, what our political priorities will be and how we will communicate them.

Economic freedom is responsible for more progress in living standards, health, and knowledge than anything we have imagined.

History shows us that freedom and prosperity go hand in hand because the human spirit is nourished by virtuous freedom. The proven path to preserving and enhancing opportunity, prosperity, and individual well-being is the path to freedom.

As Roberts and Lee concluded in their joint op-ed, “As the 2022 Heritage Index shows once again, economic freedom is not something Americans should apologize for, but harness, boost and give free rein – for our own good, and that of everyone else too.”

This is the year to act on that reminder to restore America’s economic freedom, now more than ever.

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal


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