Do you still feel free? Are you happy with the level of freedom you have?

posted by Brian Mudd - 

Do you still feel free? Are you happy with the level of freedom you have? Gallup's latest on the topic is telling:

Bottom Line: You're familiar with the saying "Freedom isn't free". The saying driving home the point that more than 1.4 million Americans have died in service to our country and the freedoms we enjoy. As it turns out even the freedoms we enjoy aren't as prevalent as they were even a decade ago according to us. 

According to Gallup's most recent polling on the freedom we enjoy as Americans, entering 2017 we felt the least free we'd felt at any point in Gallup's decade + long polling on freedom. Here were the highlights:

  • In 2006 91% of Americans stated they were happy with their level of freedom 
  • By 2009 that had dropped to 83% 
  • At the end of 2016 it was down to 75% 

What's worse is that Gallup asks this question in 139 different countries. The US ranked 11th in 2006, now we're 71st! Now to be clear there's a difference between perception and reality. I could pragmatically demonstrate how we truly are "more free" in our rights and decisions financially and otherwise than most of the rest of the world but at the same time there's an important point to be made as to why Americans feel less free. Freedom is often defined two different ways by most people. What we can (legally) do and our financial ability to do the things we need/want to do. Given that the US economy hasn't had an average year of growth since 2005 and Americans haven't averaged a typical raise (3%) since 2007 and health insurance was mandated under law to posses and healthcare spending averaged $7,000 per person in 2006 and $10,000 per person at the end of 2016...well there's plenty to help explain the lack of feeling as free. We aren't. What's more is that's just one major national issue that applies to our overall freedom. Consider the activists local governments. 

With regard to regulated freedoms at the local level...consider the minimum wage for example. It was virtually unheard of for municipal governments to attempt to impose a minimum wage in 2006. In 2016 there were 25 state and local governments that took action to raise it and that number jumped to 40 entering 2017. It's just another example of "freedom" being regulated with potentially negative financial impacts for all (but the politicians) involved. It's a reminder of how important it is to remain as vigilant at home, especially with local governments...just as our armed forces have been abroad to ensure that we do retain the freedoms we enjoy. 

Brian Mudd

Brian Mudd

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