The Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal have a new report promoting the 18th annual release of their "Index of Economic Freedom," the right wing's gold standard for international comparisons of public policy.
It almost goes without saying that since the results "demonstrate that when countries adopt policies leading to high scores, they also enjoy prosperity, economic security and success," the key to winning the future, according to Heritage and the WSJ editorial page, is to become a small East Asian dictatorship…
Hong Kong scored 89.9 on the 1-100 scale, highest worldwide. Singapore, which has ranked second all 18 years, scored 87.5. Australia and New Zealand ranked third and fourth, respectively, enabling the Asia-Pacific region to account for the four highest-ranked countries.
But, but! Mitt Romney says the United States is "the greatest nation in the history of the earth!" By which he must mean we're the greatest at being number 10, since that's where we're ranked, behind sixth place Canada and in a statistical dead-heat with Denmark.
The interesting thing, besides the discovery that Heritage analysts are actually Canadian infiltrators (admitting that other people are better than you was the giveaway), is that many policy interventions that are controversial in the United States come standard in the high-ranking countries.
Hong Kong's public healthcare system is still modeled on the Beveridge Plan that created the British NHS. Canada is well regarded for its single-payer insurance scheme known as
Death to GrandmaMedicare. Switzerland joined the universal healthcare club in 1994. The Danes contribute 49% of the nation's GDP to taxes. Every country in the top 10 has a higher union density than does the United States.
It's almost as if systems of subsidized heath-care, egalitarian tax and spending schemes and pro-labor policy can be a part of "freedom." Just don't tell the Wall Street Journal about the Wall Street Journal's own research — extreme cognitive dissonance isn't covered by most private insurers.
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Tags: Canada, Economy, Health Care, Heritage Foundation, Hong Kong, Mitt Romney, Republicans, Unions, Wall Street Journal