A year of bailouts and stimulus spending has taken a toll on global economic freedom, according to the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom. For the 16th year in a row Hong Kong is #1, followed by Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland.
The report from the conservative Heritage Foundation bumped the United
States from #6 to #8. It's not often you hear praise of Canada
(#7) from a right-leaning think tank, but our neighbors to the north have
been deemed to have the freest economy in North America:
Canada's economic freedom trails the world average only in government spending. Elaborate social and welfare state programs swell overall government expenditures. Government spending has also increased slightly due to implementation of a significant stimulus package. However, good fiscal management and federal budget surpluses have enabled the economy to undertake stimulus measures without undermining fiscal soundness and long-term economic competitiveness.
Not surprisingly, the report's authors are not fans of Pres. Obama's economic policy.
Seeing Hong Kong in the #1 spot, where it has presided since the index was created in 1995, may be jarring for those who have followed the Google - China saga. And to be certain the Heritage Foundation doesn't look kindly on mainland China, ranking it at #140, sandwiched between Djibouti and Haiti.
So why does the Index favor Hong Kong when it is ultimately answerable to the same rulers who demand censorship from Internet companies? The short answer: Low taxes, tariffs, and government spending.