Uh, oh. We're number...twelve?
The 2005 Index of Economic Freedom is out and the United States is tied for...twelfth?
The "free" countries are:
1 Hong Kong
7 United Kingdom
In 1998, the U.S. was the fifth freest economy in the world, in 2001 it was sixth, and today it sits at 12th, tied with Switzerland. The U.S. drop in ranking is explained in part by a slightly lower score, but mostly by the good performance among its competitors. The lesson? Stand still on the highway to economic liberty and the world will soon start to pass you by.
UPDATE: Professor Bainbridge also picks up the story.