How Free Are You?

Are you living in the freest country? Not if you live in the United States.

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The new “Human Freedom Index “ by the Fraser and Cato Institutes, ranks countries by both economic freedom — like freedom to trade, amount of regulations, and tax levels — plus personal freedom, like women’s rights and religious freedom.

America rose seven spots in the latest report, to number 17. But it’s still far from where it once was.

Report co-author Ian Vasquez tells John Stossel that America “used to be a 2, 3, or 4 and then government started to grow. It started to spend more.” President Bush signed the Wall Street bailouts and increased regulations. Obama continued increasing regulations and upped America’s top tax rate.

Stossel says a good ranking matters, not just because it’s good to be free, but because freedom allows people to prosper.

The countries near the top of the rankings, like Switzerland and Hong Kong, tend to have less government. Stossel says places with less government are better places to live.

The top of the list:
Hong Kong
New Zealand

The bottom:

You can see the entire ranking at

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