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Less Debt Equals More Freedom

By Dian Vujovich

With the inauguration of a new president hours away, let’s hope that President Obama continues to inspire hope in those he has already touched, reach those who haven’t cared for him and most of all, is able to lift America out of the economic quagmire that it’s in. After all, it’s freedom that we’re all about and freedom that we lose when our debts are too high.

As anyone on a five-figure income with a six-figure debt level understands getting out of a financial mess ain’t easy. It requires change: Change that includes everything from how we look at things to change in spending, saving and life style habits.

Those kinds of changes are necessary whether you’re head of a household, a corporate CEO who wants to turn her company around or a new President inheriting a huge platter of problems.

I was surprised to learn that the United States is not #1 when it comes to nations leading the world in economic freedoms. According to the recently published 2009 “Index of Economic Freedom”, the U.S. can forget about being first—we’re not even in the top five.

Out of a list of 179 nations on the planet, the U.S ranked sixth—down a notch from where we were last year. That puts us behind Hong Kong (#1), Singapore (#2), Australia (#3), Ireland (#4) and New Zealand (#5).

The Index has been published for the past 15 years and is a joint effort of The Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation. In a recent WSJ story titled “Freedom Is Still the Winning Formula”, the reason given for our slippage is “because of increases in both tax revenue and government spending as a percentage of GDP.”

Yikes. Can’t imagine where we will be ranked in the 2010 Index given the almost drunken-sailor like spending going on in Washington these days. Hope it pays off.

I’m not sure if anyone knows how to solve all of America’s current financial woes but I do know that each of us has a hand in solving their own. To that end, in this wonderful unique nation of ours, freedom begins at home.

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