Letters To A Smalltown Weekly

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Location: Gualala, California, United States

Alice and I love our life on the Northern California coast and welcome friends and family to enjoy it with us.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Free the Associated Press Editors from Socialist Biases

(Steve - I chopped it down to under 300 words. You still have my blessings to run the longer version as a special column, but if you don't cotton to that idea, then I submit this for the letters page. Mike)


“Asia is home to the world's freest _ and most repressed _ economies, but Europe ranked highest as a region in terms of economic freedom, an annual report released Tuesday by the Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal said.”

So said the Associated Press in one of the most misleading news reports I’ve ever read.

In a strict reading the AP was right. Asia is indeed home to the world’s freest – and most repressed – economies. The two freest in the world are the city/states of Hong Kong and Singapore, and North Korea is the most repressed.

However, their rationale for ranking Europe first as a region was that ten of the top 20 were European nations. However, the ten make up only 32 percent of the total European Union (EU) Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Put another way, 68 percent of the EU GDP is produced by members not ranked in the top 20 freest, including Germany, Spain, France, and Italy.

Although only two of the top twenty are in North America, the United States is fifth, and Canada is seventh, with a combined GDP equal the European Union’s.

According to Heritage, America’s ranking would be even higher, except for high government spending and taxation.

Comparing by populations, while a total of 111 million Europeans (23 percent of the EU population) live in the top twenty freest nations economically (and 77 percent don’t), 334 million North Americans (100 percent of Americans and Canadians, and triple the number of Europeans) live in the top ten freest.

In fact, 89 percent of the residents of the nations having the top five freest economies are Americans.

From these facts, obvious conclusions can be drawn about which region of the world has the freest economy, unless you’re an AP editor.