WASHINGTON – The United States has less economic freedom than New Zealand, Australia, Estonia, Ireland, Chile, the United Kingdom and Lithuania. That’s the conclusion of the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom for 2017, which saw the United States rank 17th.
The total score of 75.1 for the U.S. was its lowest total ever.
The index ranks countries using a scoring system of one to 100. The freest place on the planet was Hong Kong, which had a score of 89.8. The least free was the Communist country of North Korea with a score of 4.9, which put it last at 180.
“The substantial expansion in the size and scope of the U.S. government, increased regulatory and tax burdens in many sectors, and the loss of trust and confidence that has accompanied a growing perception of cronyism have severely undermined America’s global competitiveness,” the report said.
The score is based on the Heritage Foundation’s “four pillars” of economic freedom: rule of law, government size, regulatory efficiency and open markets. It also examines other factors such as fiscal health, judicial effectiveness and government integrity.
Some of the highlights of this year’s Index include: