Another Dismal Assessment of Obamanomics: United States Drops to 7th in WEF’s Global Competitiveness Index
By Daniel J. Mitchell
Every year, I look forward to the annual releases of both Economic Freedom of the World and the Index of Economic Freedom. With their comprehensive rankings, these two publications enable interested parties to compare nations and see which countries are moving in the right direction.
As an American, I’m ashamed to say that these publications also show which nations are moving in the wrong direction. And the United States ranks poorly by this metric, having dropped from 3rd place to 10th place since 2000 according to Economic Freedom of the World.
The United States also has dropped to 10th place in the Index of Economic Freedom, and is now ranked only as a “mostly free” nation.
Some people dismiss these pieces of data because the two rankings are considered to reflect a pro-free market bias.
The United States took the top spot in the WEF’s Global Competitiveness Index as recently as 2007 and 2008, but then dropped to 2nd place in 2009.
I think Bush bears the full blame for that unfortunate development. But the decline has continued in recent years, and Obama deserves a good part of the blame for the drop to 4th place in 2010.
The United States then fell to 5th place last year, in part because of horrible scores for “Wastefulness of Government Spending” (68th place) and “Burden of Government Regulation” (49th place).
Given this dismal trend, I opened the just-released 2012 Report with considerable trepidation. And my fears were justified. The United States has now dropped to 7th place.
Here is some of what was said about America.
The United States continues the decline that began a few years ago, falling two more positions to take 7th place this year. Although many structural features continue to make its economy extremely productive, a number of escalating and unaddressed weaknesses have lowered the US ranking in recent years. …some weaknesses in particular areas have deepened since past assessments. The business community continues to be critical toward public and private institutions (41st). In particular, its trust in politicians is not strong (54th), perhaps not surprising in light of recent political disputes that threaten to push the country back into recession through automatic spending cuts. Business leaders also remain concerned about the government’s ability to maintain arms-length relationships with the private sector (59th), and consider that the government spends its resources relatively wastefully (76th). A lack of macroeconomic stability continues to be the country’s greatest area of weakness (111th, down from 90th last year).
For people who like to look at the glass as being 1/10th full, the United States does beat Portugal (116ht place) in the score for macroeconomic stability.
Here are a few additional highlights. Or lowlights might be a better word.
- The United States scores 42nd in property rights, behind Namibia and Uruguay.
- The United States ranks 59th in government favoritism, behind Guinea and Bolivia.
- The United States scores 76th in wastefulness in government spending, behind Mali and Nicaragua.
- The United States also is 76th in the burden of government regulation, behind Kenya and Thailand.
- The United States scores 69th in extent of taxation, behind Gambia and Ethiopia.
- The United States ranks 103rd for total tax rate, behind Greece (!) and Philippines.
Now time for some caveats. The WEF report is based on survey results, for better or worse, and it also probably is best characterized as a measure of the attitudes of the business community rather than an estimate of economic freedom.
Regardless of limitations, though, it is a good publication. As such, it is downright embarrassing to see the United States fare so poorly in key indices—particularly when third-world nations score better.
We know that small government and free markets are the keys to prosperity. Bush took us in the wrong direction, however, and Obama is repeating his mistakes.
So don’t be surprised to see the American score decline further as additional reports are issued.
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USDA: Corn condition drops 9 percentage points
Angela Bowman, Staff Writer | Updated: July 16, 2012
The current weather pattern is repeating a destructive cycle of excessive heat and few chances at any precipitation, and the USDA showed the impact of the drought in its weekly Crop Progress report. According to the report, corn conditions dropped by 9 percentage points this week, marking the sixth consecutive week of deteriorating conditions. Soybeans weren’t far behind, dropping by 6 percentage points.
Specifically, the percentage of corn in "good" or "excellent condition is now 31 percent, compared to 40 percent last wee
Corn: Silking almost complete, conditions still bad
The report showed that corn silking is now 71 percent complete, well above last year’s pace of 28 percent and up by 21 percentage points from last week’s report. Corn has also been reported in the dough stage in 12 percent of the crops, compared to the five-year average of 4 percent.
States are also struggled against the destructive weather conditions. Three states reported at least 70 percent of their corn in poor to very poor condition – Indiana (71 percent), Kentucky (77 percent) and Missouri (72 percent). These states also struggled in the 1988 drought:
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:19 am
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Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman abandoned his attempt at the Republican Party’s nod on Monday, not just narrowing the number of candidates vying for the GOP nomination but potentially pushing the contest in favor of Texas Congressman Ron Paul.
The announcement from the Huntsman camp came early Monday, only days after the candidate took third place in the New Hampshire primary. While Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann was prompted to pull out of the race following dismal polling in the granite state, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry — who gathered substantially less votes that Huntsman — remain in the race.
Now unless the pack of three bringing up the rear in the race can see a resurgence of success on the road to the South Carolina primary, the path to the Republican Party nomination seems certain to be a two-man race between Romney and Paul. Given his continuing surge in support coupled with a surprise second place win in New Hampshire, positive polling down south and the ability to reclaim votes from the Huntsman fan base, Congressman Paul stands to capitalize on having his contender call it quits.
In the contest to offer the GOP an everyman’s alternative to millionaire Mitt Romney, Paul and Huntsman have gone head-to-head in recent weeks, especially after the two placed second and third in New Hampshire, respectively. While Paul has made it known that he is an unyielding libertarian thanks to a massive national campaign, Huntsman also subscribes to those ideologies and has managed to make his candidacy thrive thus far on the votes of those skeptic of Ron Paul, portrayed by the media as an unelectable, fringe candidate. Now with Huntsman out of the picture, however, libertarian-leaning voters will be apt to side with Congressman Paul, although officially Romney will be endorsed by the soon-to-be out-of-the-race candidate.
Depending on how voters formerly aligned with Huntsman chose to cast their voice in South Carolina, Congressman Paul could continue his streak of upsets and secure a victory in the upcoming primary.
At least two polls put out in recent days suggest that Paul’s support in South Carolina is only surging upwards, a trend that could be accelerated with Huntsman out of the picture. On Friday, American Research Group put Romney at first place with 29 percent of the votes and Paul close behind at 20 percent. In-between was former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 25 percent of the votes, which comes as a shock to many after he barely claimed 9 percent of the audience days earlier in New Hampshire.
In an entirely different poll put out this weekend, Rasmussen Reports suggests that Paul has seen a surge in popularity in South Carolina in recent days, capturing five more percentage points than only a week earlier. At the same time, Rasmussen’s polling put Paul’s closest competition as Rick Santorum, who saw a drop of eight percentage points during the same span.
Following the second-place win in New Hampshire, Ron Paul spokesman Jesse Benton said, “When added to Paul’s top-tier showing in Iowa, it’s clear he is the sole Republican candidate who can take on and defeat both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.”
From South Carolina on Saturday night, even Fox News amplified that point.
During a forum hosted by Mike Huckabee in which the former GOP-contender himself asked questions to Republican candidates in front of a live audience, one member of the crowd was asked to toss a question to Mitt Romney. “How do you plan on getting us on board with you and convincing us that you and Obama aren’t just different sides of the same coin?” asked a young man during the event. Romney responded by switching to a cookie-cutter answer that harped on his experience with the private sector and by-and-large deflected from the actual question. When Fox asked the audience member if he was satisfied, he confronted Romney for skipping the question and said on air, “I’m more for Ron Paul after this, even though he’s not even here.”
Statistics: Posted by Deo Vindice — Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:36 am
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