U.S. Ranked Second In Economic Opportunity in 2000; Guess Where It Ranks Now

America is still "the land of the free" and "the home of the brave," but it's not helping lead in the world in economic freedom the way it did earlier this century when it ranked second worldwide in the year 2000.

According to a Washington Examiner story on a Fraser Institute report, these countries all now rank higher than the U.S.:

1. Hong Kong
2. Singapore
3. New Zealand
4. Switzerland
5. United Arab Emirates
6. Mauritius
7. Jordan
8. Ireland
9. Canada
10. United Kingdom
11. Australia
12. Georgia
13. Chile
14. Qatar
15. Taiwan

That puts the United States at 16. The economic freedom ranking for the U.S. saw a significant drop after the September 11 attacks and again at the beginning of the Obama Administration.

According to the Fraser Institute, the ranking is based off of "size of government, legal structure and security of property rights, access to sound money, freedom to trade internationally, and regulation of credit, labor and business."

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Fraser Institute chairman Fred McMahon blames the American decline on "A weakened rule of law, the so-called wars on terrorism and drugs, and a confused regulatory environment."

On a global scale he noted: "Economic freedom breeds prosperity and economically free countries like Canada offer the highest quality of life while the lowest-ranked countries are usually burdened by oppressive regimes that limit the freedom and opportunity of their citizens."