USA: The Land of the Not-So-Free

Francis Scott Key was certainly not a visionary when he penned the famous words “the land of the free and the home of the brave”. But, we can certainly forgive him since it was back in 1814 and things were different maybe then. Two hundred years later, the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom has just been published by the Heritage Foundation think tank and its findings are far from glorious of the country that believes that it is a founding father of both democracy and freedom. We all know that the former went out of the window long ago and not just when the National security Agency finally admitted to eavesdropping on the world. The second went to the wind too decades ago and people are starting to realize it. The USA is no longer the land of the free and certainly not the home of the brave. The land of the foolish and the home of the corrupt, maybe! There’s a thought. Foolish because we have sat like lemmings, sheepled into believing that the wealthy were honest and the state was good; corrupt because everyone at the highest echelons is in on the act.

Thomas Jefferson once said: “ Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence”. How true was it back then and oh how telling is it of today’s society!


The USA is no longer at the top of the Index of Economic Freedom. It’s no longer in the top ten these days and for the first time ever it is in 12th place in the rankings. The biggest and the best economy in the world is no longer the freest. Since 2013, it has dropped a half point yet again and now stands at 75.5 points on the scale. Why?

  • Simply because it has seen deteriorations in property rights, fiscal freedom and business freedom according to the think tank.
  • Since 2006, the USA has systematically declined in the ratings and has lost since that dates 6 points on its score.
  • The USA is now the only country in the world that has lost points for the past 7 years in a row in the world.
  • According to the index the reason behind this is the fundamental rise in the size and status of the government: “Substantial expansion in the size and scope of government, including through new and costly regulations in areas like finance and health care, has contributed significantly to the erosion of U.S. economic freedom. The growth of government has been accompanied by increasing cronyism that has undermined the rule of law and perceptions of fairness.”

The USA is currently losing in the ratings on the index due to the fact that there has been an “expansive use of government regulatory agencies to manage economic activity, particularly in the financial, health care, and energy sectors”.

The order of the day is cronyism, corruption and embezzlement, it would seem.

Taxation is also been accused of reducing freedom in the country. The top individual tax rate has seen a rise to 39.6%. The top corporate tax rate is stuck at 35%. The total tax burden stands at 25.1% of gross domestic income.

Creating a new company has become more expensive and stricter. There have been more than 130 new regulations that have been applied to incorporating a business since 2009. Regulatory requirements have increased the cost of founding a company by up to $60 billion since the same date.

The countries in the top slots are as follows:

  1. Hong Kong
  2. Singapore
  3. Australia
  4. Switzerland
  5. New Zealand
  6. Canada
  7. Chile
  8. Mauritius
  9. Ireland
  10. Denmark

This isn’t the land of the free and it certainly isn’t the home of the brave these days. The USA is no longer the liberal, free-economics country that it once was. It’s now all about making the rich richer and the corrupt more corruptible. It has nothing to do with the freedom of making a living and becoming the self-made man that the country was built upon. At one time that wasn’t a myth; these days it’s just laughable. The only men that can make it these days are those that have already been boosted on the road to success by diverting, embezzling, swindling ad money-grabbing at the highest echelons of the state. Nothing wrong with making money. Nothing at all. But, there’s everything wrong with treading on the people down below while you clamber up to the top of the state, hoarding the millions, siphoning off the money that should be going elsewhere.

The USA: the land of the free and the home of the brave?


Heritage Foundation was founded in 1973; a think tank headquartered in Washington D.C.

Its statement of mission is to “formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense”.

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