US Economic Freedom on the Decline — even before the bailout

The Cato Institute recently released its annual “Economic Freedom of the World” Index. The full study can be found here. Unfortunately, the news for the United States is not good. Since 2000, our score has dropped from 8.55 which was good for second in the world, to 7.86 which was good for only 10th in the world (check page 177 of the index for US rankings and scores). I can only imagine how the current financial crisis and massive government intervention in the economy will affect our relative level of economic freedom.
According to the authors, “Lower ratings in the legal structure area and for the
administrative costs of clearing customs were primarily responsible for the rating reduction of the United States.” Sound money, size of government and regulation have all suffered in recent years as well. It would be simple to lay blame for this slide at the feet of President Bush as he has presided over this decline in freedom, but our nation’s entire political leadership has been working to destroy economic freedom in recent years and I see no lights at the end of the proverbial tunnel.