It's ironic that while the rest of the world is moving toward economic freedom to ignite their economies, United States, under the governance of Washington's liberal elites, has retreated from liberty. It's true. While countries such as Denmark, Ireland, Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand and Australia were high-tailing forward, we moved backward, and Bahrain — Bahrain — is nipping at our heels. These are the conclusions of the The Wall Street Journal/Heritage Foundation annual Index of Economic Freedom. In fact, the report states that the U.S. score, which dropped to ninth in the study, fell from the ranks of the "economically free nations" to that of the "mostly free" ranks. According to the study, the U.S. decline was . . .

largely the result of large government spending increases and passage of President Barack Obama’s health care plan, which severely restricts consumer choice and private health care markets while increasing the size and cost of government.

Also of note is that more than half of the 183 countries in the survey improved their economic freedom, seeking to untangle their governments from the private sector to emerge from recession rather than increasing government's role (see Theodore Bromund at Heritage's The Foundry). The report rated countries' fiscal soundness and openness to trade and investment, government size, business and labor regulation, property rights, corruption, monetary stability and financial competition.

According to Virginia Fourth District Congressman Randy Forbes, who blogs about the study here:

It is clear that huge increases in government spending have impacted our economic freedom as a nation and it shows us that reining in government spending must be a top priority for the 112th Congress. Our nation was built on the premise that we are the “land of the free,” and that includes economic freedom. “Mostly free” should not be an economic option for the United States.

We now are in a period where big government not only threatens our liberty with ever increasing control over our decisions, but with the incomprehensible debt it has accrued in doing so. Debt enslaves people and societies to those to whom it owes the money. That those debts will never be called in is no longer realistic. We may always be be the home of the brave, but land of the free is not a guarantee.