Ahhh, economic freedom--drink it in, it always goes down smooth. Well-defined, well-enforced property rights; a stable rule of law that prevents corruption and encourages equal justice; free trade; responsible government spending; ease of doing business; well-reasoned, certainty-inducing regulation: these are the types of factors that energize a society toward productivity and prosperity, and have made the United States the world's leader in liberty and living standards for going on two centuries. Unfortunately, the sort of big-government, top-down-virtue policies that adulterate such righteous merits have been infiltrating our beautiful country at an exponential rate, and subsequently, we've already lost our foothold among the freest of nations.
For over a decade, the Heritage Foundation, in cahoots with the WSJ, has tracked countries' progress in their Index of Economic Freedom. Surprise, surprise: in their 2012 index, the United States slipped a notch from ninth to tenth place, mainly due to inflating government spending, more corruption (a consequence of increasing bureaucracy, by the way), and less investment freedom. And it's a darn shame: