John Andrews

This result again, paralleling the experience in Washington, has been achieved even as party control seesawed in Colorado’s statehouse. You can be sure that’s mostly because our constitution, unlike the federal constitution, has a Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights to restrain government growth. We’re the envy of many states for that.

And partisans on both sides shouldn’t forget that the North America scorecard (EFNA) has a two-year data lag exactly as the world rankings do. Hence my state’s high rank doesn’t reflect the local Democrats’ “dirty dozen” tax increases in 2010, nor the the local Republicans’ sorry 2011 performance with no effort to repeal the worst of those, a car tax, and foolish passage of a state enabling bill for Obamacare.

Fraser rates the 60 states and provinces on 10 criteria under the headings of size of government, takings and discriminatory taxation, and labor market freedom. Right to Work was defeated on Colorado’s ballot in 2008; had it passed, we’d rank even higher. And that’s not just a bragging point. EFNA includes statistical proof that living standards rise in a state with almost 1:1 correlation to the rise of economic freedom.

Occupying the best cabin on a sinking ship counts for little, however. Ask the passengers of the Costa Concordia. With U.S. economic freedom nationally declining at Venezuelan speed, states such as Colorado and Texas near the top of the EFNA rankings are in as bad a pickle long term as cellar-dwellers like West Virginia and New Mexico.

If the Canadians, Brits, and Aussies continue outdistancing you and me as Americans in that precious freedom Jeb Bush has called “the right to rise,” all of our red- and blue-state political cheering will be just so much white noise.

John Andrews

John Andrews is former president of the Colorado Senate and the author of "Responsibility Reborn: A Citizen's Guide to the Next American Century"