by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The U.S. economy is roaring like no other time in recent memory. The job market is hot, unemployment is down to record lows, and small business optimism is soaring.
But this newfound dynamism didn’t come from nowhere. It required a package of market and consumer-friendly reforms passed by Congress and adopted by the Trump administration. These reforms have boosted economic freedom.
According to The Heritage Foundation’s 2019 Index of Economic Freedom, America’s economic freedom has seen a dramatic boost—from 18th place in the world to 12th place in the span of just one year. America’s score ticked up by more than a full point from last year, reaching the highest level in eight years.
The annual index—now celebrating its 25th year—provides an overall snapshot of almost every country’s level of economic freedom. It takes into account a variety of factors, like taxation, regulation, and trade. It is relevant to our job prospects and the prices we pay for goods and services, not to mention what kind of appliances and cars we can choose and buy.
Higher economic freedom scores tend to correlate with faster growth and broader economic expansion, as well as higher incomes and overall wealth. In fact, per capita incomes in the freest countries as measured by the index are six to seven times higher than incomes in the least free countries.