Antony Davies

And this isn’t just a cross-country phenomenon. Splitting the 50 states into two groups – the most free and the least free – yields eerily similar results. In every one of the past 25 years, economic growth in the most free states has been greater, unemployment has been lower, median household income has been higher, per-capita income has been higher, and the poverty rate has been lower. Census data show that people took notice and moved. Population growth in the most free states has been 60 percent greater than in the least free states.

As we become less free, we become more beholden to the whims of our elected politicians. And as they expand their power and control over our economy, we all lose. Everywhere we turn we are bombarded with dire warnings of the looming fiscal cliff, but precious few have the nerve to speak the obvious truth: Politicians put us on the edge of this cliff by attempting to do things they had no business doing. The right thing for them to do is also the simplest: stop meddling in the economy and in the lives of the citizens. People must be free to make their own decisions and to live with the consequences of those decisions.

In throwing off the yoke of tyranny, our ancestors pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. Generations since then have given their lives to preserve our freedom and to extend it to others. The tyranny our ancestors overthrew was far less onerous than the tyranny under which we live today, and it is time for the present generation to begin looking at its situation as the Founding generation looked at its own. Now, as then, we will make no progress until the people themselves declare that enough is finally enough.

Antony Davies

Antony Davies is associate professor of economics at Duquesne University and an affiliated senior scholar at the Mercatus Center. James R. Harrigan is a fellow of the Institute of Political Economy at Utah State University.