January 14, 2011 12:35 pm ET - by Walid Zafar
Every year, the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal join forces and publish their Index of Economic Freedom. And every year, the results of their index give us an opportunity to illustrate just how morally, intellectually and ideologically inconsistent the conservative movement truly is.
This year, the United States ranks ninth, ahead of Bahrain but, as the publication scores it, behind Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Ireland and Denmark. The top spots almost always go to Hong Kong and Singapore, respectively.
So what's the problem?
First, Hong Kong and Singapore are city-states, and, according to The Economist, hybrid regimes — somewhere between a weak democracy and an authoritarian regime.
Other than Hong Kong and Singapore, the other countries ahead of the United States are all strong social democracies. In other words, they are the very places that both the Heritage Foundation and the editors of the Wall Street Journal consider evil: nations supposedly teetering on the cusp of socialism, where taxes are at near-exorbitant rates. Worse, in all of these states, there is some form of socialized medicine and, in some instances, mandated health insurance.
What gives? It's almost as if the Index of Economic Freedom is an arbitrary exercise and not really about economic freedom at all. Perhaps the most obvious illustration why this index is wholly worthless is that Morocco, which — again, according to The Economist — is an authoritarian state, is ranked significantly higher on the index of economic freedom than Brazil! This is tomfoolery at its best. Or perhaps its worst.
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