The United States was known as the bastion of economic freedom for more than two centuries, and it was because of its economic freedom that the nation became the pre-eminent economic power. However, in just a few short years, the U.S. has fallen from No. 3 in 2000 (behind the city-states of Hong Kong and Singapore) to No. 8 in 2005 and to No. 18 in 2010, the last year for which complete statistics are available. Worse yet, the U.S. decline continues, and in next year’s ranking, it is almost certain to be lower.
~ Richard Rahn
Grouch: The index Rahn refers to above measures the degree of economic freedom present in five major areas:  Size of Government;  Legal System and Security of property Rights;  Sound Money;  Freedom to Trade Internationally;  Regulation.