To the editor:
The 2018 Human Freedom Index by Right-leaning Cato Institute rates the U.S. at No. 17 on personal, civil, and economic freedom. Yet their Top 10 is filled with countries that have universal healthcare, universal education, higher taxes, higher minimum wages, and common-sense regulation (guns, environment, etc.). Similarly, conservative think tank Heritage Foundation lists the U.S. at No. 12 in their Index of Economic Freedom, with nearly every country preceding it having similar “liberal” policies.
Meanwhile, the 2018 Freedom In The World report by right-leaning watchdog organization Freedom House notes that democracy in the U.S. has been eroding for years, but that "the past year brought further, faster erosion of America’s own democratic standards than at any other time in memory, damaging its international credibility as a champion of good governance and human rights" due mostly to Trump's presidency.
So what can be learned from this? Well …
1) It is possible to balance liberties and freedoms with taxation and regulation — and programs like universal healthcare and universal education can increase freedom. This is not a radical idea – it’s commonplace in most the developed world. However, the U.S. is failing in this. Our country already spends more per capita than most others on education and healthcare — but has little to show. It is not difficult to assert that universal programs would be less expensive and less wasteful if done right.
2) Republican politicians do not uphold freedoms and liberties. They are committing just as egregious acts as Democrats — in fact, even more so. We need to keep holding Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration to the fire to keep them from further deteriorating our rights and the checks and balances of our government (as we should do with any party that has majority power).