Robert Bauman

James Madison of Virginia, the fourth US President, one the Founding Fathers and the leading proponent of the Bill of Rights, may have anticipated better than anyone the processes that destroy liberty when he said:

I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.

The 2012 Economic Freedom of the World report was released recently by the Cato Institute and Canada’s Fraser Institute. In just a few years, the US ranking has plummeted from No. 2 in 2000 (behind the city-states of Hong Kong and Singapore) to 18th place, trailing such countries as Estonia, Taiwan, and Qatar.

Finland, Denmark and Canada now also have freer economies than the United States.

Americans will ignore this report at their peril; this is not something thrown together by ivory tower eggheads. The godfather of the Economic Freedom of the World report was the late, great Milton Friedman who suggested its need as a measure of liberty.

The comprehensive index covers the size of government (taxing and spending), legal systems, property rights, sound money, free international trade and regulation (including credit markets, labor and business regulations).

Reading this alarming report, I was reminded of a point Ronald Reagan made in many of his public addresses — that the average republic in history lasted just over 200 years, citing Edward Gibbon’s 1787 work The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

On July 4, 2012 the United States celebrated the 236th anniversary of its independence as a nation…

According to the report, in 2005 the US ranked 45th in overall size of government among 144 nations surveyed. Today, government has ballooned in size and the US rank has fallen to 61st place.

Other areas of lost freedom include a substantial increase in stifling business regulations, labor-market restrictions, and barriers to trade. The US standing fell in all those categories, and there was also a long-term deterioration in ranking on property rights as well. No doubt these disastrous developments serve as roadblocks to recovery from the continuing recession that began in 2008.

Cato’s Richard W. Rahn observes: “Worse yet, the US decline continues and in next year’s ranking it is almost certain to be lower.”

If ever there was a concentrated compilation of facts urging Americans to “go offshore,’ the Economic Freedom of the World report is it.

Regards,

Robert Bauman
for The Daily Reckoning

Robert Bauman

Robert E. Bauman, J.D. is a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland and the author of several books on offshore financial topics including Where to Stash Your Cash Legally, The Complete Guide to Offshore Residency, Dual Citizenship and Second Passports, and The Offshore Money Manual 2000.

  • http://twitter.com/WoodbineMike Michael

    This is one of the few countries that does not allow for free trade by blocking access to poker sites such as Pokerstars and some large international speculating sites such as Betfair. It’s not a really big thing and some would justify it by saying it imposes morality on the immoral — but it stands out like a sore thumb with all the other countries that are on those sites.

Recent Articles

Can Money Printing Cause Deflation?

Marc Faber

"There has been an issue that has preoccupied my mind for a long time," writes Dr. Marc Faber. "In economics, it is generally accepted that if the quantity of money and credit is increased, prices will rise… However, since economics is so complex… I question whether the expansion of central banks' balance sheets and policies of zero interest rates could have a deflationary impact…" The good doctor wrestles with the question, in today's essay...


Forget the Oil Crash – Crush the Market With Biotech Stocks

Greg Guenthner

The Biotech iShares ETF is up 23% since the Oct. 15th bottom. No, that is not a typo. Biotechs have torched the S&P over the past two months--more than doubling the returns of the big index. And biotechs as a group are up more than 38% year-to-date. In fact, since we first highlighted the June comeback, the Biotech iShares have gone nowhere but up.


How Low Will Oil Go – And What Can You Do?

Matt Insley

The oil market has been under siege for six months. From service providers to producers this downturn has been painful. Of course, we’ve known all along that oil prices were a little toppy over the summer. In fact, when asked just how low oil prices could go I usually answered with a simple “lower than you’d expect…”


Cuba’s Berlin Wall Moment

Peter Coyne

Our forecast that Cuba would be open and integrated within 5-10 years is on track after yesterday's big announcement. Ahead of schedule, even. Click here to see how some investors have profited and what the island's likely future is...


The $4 LED Trend You Don’t Want to Miss

Chris Mayer

The opportunity to sell and install LEDs is enormous. We’re talking about over a billion lighting fixtures. And the areas with the largest potential -- like parking lots -- have barely begun to change. Banker to the presidents Chris Mayer says you could triple your money in this new tech trend. Here's what you need to know.


How to Make the Casinos Pay You for a Change

Greg Guenthner

It's a theme we've shared with you since April. And it's only gotten worse. The gaming industry has come under all sorts of pressure--a situation I first noticed in the charts. The powerful, multi-year uptrends started showing cracks. And it wasn't long before those cracks turned into gaping holes you could drive a friggin' truck through. That's where things stand today.