Deroy Murdock explains in his latest column why no American should be excited about chanting “We’re No. 12! We’re No. 12!”

The latest milestone in America’s decline is especially demoralizing: The U.S. has slouched from among the world’s Top 10 freest economies. In fact, we’re No. 12 — down two spots from No. 10 last year.

This bad news emerges from the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, released this morning by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal.

“Now considered only a ‘mostly free’ economy, the U.S. has earned the dubious distinction of having recorded one of the longest sustained declines in economic freedom, second only to Argentina, of any country in the [20-year] history of the Index,” observe the report’s editors, Ambassador Terry Miller, Anthony B. Kim, and Kim Holmes, Ph.D., all Heritage Foundation scholars. “The U.S. is the only country to have recorded a loss of economic freedom each of the past seven years.” This sad, maddening interval began in 2007 with Republican George W. Bush’s reckless expenditures, brand-new regulations (including the unforgivable federal destruction of Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb), and the post-crisis nationalization of American enterprises. This folly continues with President Obama’s trillion-dollar annual deficits, his 24/7 red-tape factory, and the triumph of Obamacare, now blossoming in its entire splendor. …

… Why is America so dull in an area where the Land of the Free should shine? Blame the ever-expanding state.

“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 Index states. “The growth of government has been accompanied by increasing cronyism that has undermined the rule of law and perceptions of fairness.” It also cites Obamacare as a culprit: “Implementation of the health care law passed in 2010 has hit major snags and appears to be significantly hurting job creation and full-time employment.”