An index of economic freedom listed by country created by the Heritage Foundation shows that the United States is number ten, behind Canada. This comes as a surprise to most Americans who think of Canada as a big socialist wasteland.
However, my dealings with Canadians tend to confirm this. Come tax time their taxes are much lower and simpler than their American counterparts (creating howls of envy from the Americans with whom they are dealing).
The fact is that we Americans actually live in a regulatory state, with the state’s hand just about everywhere. Just look at ObamaCare and how it’s being implemented, as just one example. Notice how the president himself doesn’t even care what’s in the law. He basically considers ObamaCare a license for the executive branch to do whatever it chooses in the healthcare arena. Delay a major section for a year? Sure, no need to consult Congress. Just get Sebelius to send out an edict.
We still consider ourselves to be economically free only because relatively recently, we were to a large extent. Our lack of recognizing how regulated we have become is a major case of national denial. The phrase “Land of the Free” is today nothing more than a anarchistic slogan, floating into our ears from an earlier time, still resonating because some indelible part of the free American spirit still–somehow–remains, although crushed under decades and decades of regulatory wreckage.