Recession, Regulation Constrict Growth Of Economic Freedom
Economic Freedom Declined In 2012, New Report Says Using a multitude of barometers, the Heritage Foundation gauged the level of economic freedom in countries across the globe and found that “almost all of the most advanced countries lost ground.”
The report ascribes much of the decline to the effects of the recession, as well as to a lack of US leadership.
“Trade flows—the engine of world growth—have declined as the U.S. economy has stagnated. Protectionism threatens consumers and businesses with higher costs and restrictions in supply. Ill-conceived banking regulations such as the Dodd-Frank law generate uncertainty and anxiety. And investment freedom declines in the face of higher costs and new legal and tax liabilities such as those introduced by ObamaCare. These misguided U.S. policies hurt Americans first, but others feel the harm as well,” asserts the report.
See the entire 2013 Index of Economic Freedom here.
In US, Number Of Working Poor Continues To Rise
A new report by The Working Poor Project finds almost 10.2 million families – or 47.5 million Americans – now live near poverty, which averages to about $22,811 for a family of four.
Brandon Roberts, co-author of the report, said the results were somewhat of a surprise after Census officials last year said the U.S. poverty rate had stabilized.
“As the economy has improved one would expect that the benefits of that improvement would to some extent tie to these low-income families, and we’d see a decrease or at least a stabilization in the numbers,” Brandon Roberts, a co-author of the report, tells Reuters.
Globally, Growth Of The Middle Class Is Critical
Citing figures showing that people in developing countries comprise almost 30 percent of the world’s consumer spending, Lily Kuo says the growing influence of the middle class is “one the most important trends for the next several decades.”
Kuo argues this trend will benefit individual nations as “countries with smaller middle classes tend to be easily polarized and focused on redistributing resources.”
One-Third Of World Has Access To Internet At Home
While many in the West suffer from an unnatural attachment to their communication devices, Gallup reports that one-in-three people worldwide has access to the Internet at home and in some nations, only one in ten has access.
The number who do have Internet in the home has risen steadily from 21 percent in 2007 to 32 percent in 2011.
In 48 of the 148 countries surveyed in 2011, half or more adults report home Internet access with Sweden and Singapore having the highest number of individuals with access.