Despite its reputation for freedom, the U.S. has the world’s highest prison population rate, 716 inmates per 100,000 people. More than half the countries of the world have rates less than one-fifth of that. The United States’ rate is six times that of Canada and six to nine times greater than the rates of Western European nations, with whom we have the most cultural and historical ties. Why is criminality so much higher here than in those countries? The U.S. has less than 5 percent of the world’s population but 22 percent of its prison population.
In this episode of the Budget & Tax News podcast, managing editor and research fellow Jesse Hathaway talks with The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis director and former U.S. ambassador Terry Miller, about a recent survey of economic freedom indicators all over the world.
As I previously discussed in Townhall Finance, real and sustainable private investment is being held back in large part due to the regime uncertainty caused by such regulations as Dodd-Frank, Obamacare and climate change. In fact, I first pointed this out publicly as one of the guest speakers at a large Tea Party rally on Tax Day 2010 in Appleton WI.
The federal Dodd-Frank Act is considered by many to be the most significant financial legislation in modern history. Its purpose was to create a sound Economic Foundation to grow jobs, protect consumers, rein in Wall Street and big bonuses, end bailouts,and “too big to fail,” as well as prevent another financial crisis. Years without accountability for Wall Street and big banks had ushered in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression that resulted in the loss of 8 million jobs, failed businesses, a drop in housing prices, and wiped out personal savings.
The Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), the unelected oversight group created by the Dodd-Frank Act to monitor and regulate firms deemed to pose systemic risk to the economy (ie. “too big too fail”), has decided begun to expand its remit beyond what even the law’s authors had imagined.
The banking crisis of 2008 and its attendant deep recession have been hailed by statists the world over as the ultimate demonstration of capitalist greed and a justification for more and more regulation and government control of the economy, particularly the financial sector. Their argument boils down to an accusation that private actors in the marketplace are incapable of dealing with systemic crises and that government is the only agent that can address the market as a whole in order to combat panics and economic shocks. That argument won out in the aftermath of the recession, leading to a raft of new regulations, most notably the voluminous Dodd-Frank Act.
The full bill for Obama’s failed economic policies has yet to arrive. But no such explosion of debt has ever escaped a day of reckoning, and no such monetary surge has ever had a happy ending.
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