The U.S. has fallen again in a recent index of global economic freedom that noted economic freedom worldwide has declined to its lowest point in two decades.
The Heritage Foundation’s 2023 Index of Economic Freedom, which evaluated economic policies and situations in 184 nations from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022, found a worldwide economy that is “mostly unfree,” according to an executive summary of the report provided to Fox News Digital.
The report made special note of the declining position of the U.S., which slipped to 25th place globally because of what researchers described as the country’s runaway government spending amid “mounting deficit and debt burdens.”
“This really should be a wake-up call if you’re looking at the United States,” Joel Griffith, a research fellow in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for economic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation, told Fox News Digital. “We’ve been doing this report now since the 1990s, and based on our metrics, this is the lowest the United States has ever ranked in the index as far as the total score.”
“Especially notable is the continuing decline within the ‘mostly free’ category of the United States, whose score plummeted to 70.6, its lowest level ever in the 29-year history of the Index,” researchers wrote. “The U.S. is now the world’s 25th-freest economy. The major causative factor in the erosion of America’s economic freedom is excessive government spending, which has resulted in mounting deficit and debt burdens.”
The U.S. dropped from the 20th to the 25th spot in the index since last year. Other nations experienced worse downward trends, which reportedly prevented the U.S. from sliding further down the rankings.
The U.S. federal government will accumulate $19 trillion in debt over the next decade, according to a recent estimate from the CBO.
“We’ve seen a lot of countries across the world engaging in dangerous monetary policy with their central banks printing too much currency and with overspending,” said Griffith, who noted the U.S. is no longer ranked as the freest country in the Americas. “The United States has been one of the worst offenders over the past two and a half years, and that’s a large part of why we have sunk in the rankings when it comes to our debt load and government size, which is really dragging us down and making us less competitive.”
The report also revealed that the mean economic freedom score across the globe has declined from 60.0 last year to 59.3, marking its lowest point in 20 years.
“The major causative factor in the erosion of America’s economic freedom is excessive government spending.”
The report also noted a significant rearrangement among the top 10 countries regarding economic freedom rankings. While Singapore remained the world’s freest economy, New Zealand and Australia lost their top-tier status, with the latter dropping out of the top 10 list entirely.
Griffith said Western democracies during the pandemic “imposed really repressive policies that we would have thought unimaginable just a few years ago,” which he claimed negatively affected their economic freedom scores.
Switzerland now holds the position of the world’s second-freest economy, with Ireland following closely behind. Taiwan has climbed up the ranks to the fifth spot, which a source at The Heritage Foundation told Fox News Digital indicates a “good sign of resilience against [the Chinese Communist Party].” North Korea ranked last.