The Fall of America?

A University of Oklahoma zoology professor, an expert on the thermal relations of amphibians, has debunked that well-known theory that a frog in cold water, heated gradually, will stay put until the poor, inattentive critter is cooked.

As water temperature gradually increases, he said, a smart frog will actively attempt to escape heated water. If the container size and opening allow the frog to jump out, it will do so.

James Madison of Virginia, the fourth U.S. President, one the Founding Fathers and the leading proponent of the Bill of Rights, may have anticipated the boiling frog theory when he said:

“I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

The 2012 Economic Freedom of the World report was released recently by the Cato Institute and Canada’s Fraser Institute. In just a few years, the U.S. has fallen from No. 3 in 2000 (behind the city-states of Hong Kong and Singapore) to No. 8 in 2005 and now has plummeted to 18th place, trailing such countries as Estonia, Taiwan, and Qatar.

Finland, Denmark and Canada now also have freer economies than the United States.

Americans will ignore this report at their peril; this is not something thrown together by ivory tower eggheads. The godfather of the Economic Freedom of the World report was the late, great Milton Friedman who suggested its need as a measure of liberty.

The extensive index covers the size of government (taxing and spending), legal systems, property rights, sound money, free international trade and regulation (including credit markets, labor and business regulations).

Reading this alarming report I was reminded of a point Ronald Reagan made in many of his public addresses—that the average republic in history lasted just over 200 years, citing Edward Gibbon’s 1787 work The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

On July 4, 2012 the United States celebrated the 236th anniversary of its independence as a nation…

According to the report, in 2005 the U.S. ranked 45th in overall size of government among 144 nations surveyed. Today, government has ballooned in size and the U.S. rank has fallen to 61st place.

Other areas of lost freedom include a substantial increase in stifling business regulations, labor-market restrictions, and barriers to trade. The U.S. standing fell in all those categories, and there was also a long-term deterioration in ranking on property rights as well. No doubt these disastrous developments serve as roadblocks to recovery from the continuing recession that began in 2008.

Cato’s Richard W. Rahn observes: “Worse yet, the U.S. decline continues and in next year’s ranking it is almost certain to be lower.”

If ever there was a concentrated compilation of facts urging Americans to “go offshore” you can find it in the pages of the report entitled 2012 Economic Freedom of the World.

Editor’s Note: Bob Bauman is a leading authority on dual citizenship and offshore asset protection, and the author of the highly recommended The Passport Book. Get your copy here.

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