Regulatory Watchdogs

Center for Regulatory Effectiveness

Greenpeace International
Public Citizen
Sierra Club

Center for Auto Safety
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Clean Air Trust
Corporate Library
Environmental Defense
Environmental Media Services
FM Watch
Friends of the Earth
PR Watch
U.S. Public Interest Research Groups


Just How Free Is Our Economy?
The Heritage Foundation is a watchdog that watches the freedom of our economy. And, according to the group, we're not quite so free as we used to be, at least compared to the rest of the world. The US has fallen out of the top ten freest economies for the first time in the 11 years the index has been published.

The Heritage index, published jointly with the Wall Street Journal, looks at 50 economic factors grouped into 10 categories such as regulation, banking and finance, trade policy, and the fiscal burden of the government. The US is now tied for 12th place with Switzerland. The US is still one of only 17 countries rated as having a "free" economy with another 56 countries being considered as "mostly free."

The reason for the ranking decline is not that the US' score has declined but that the ratings for Chile, Australia and Iceland improved enough to push the US out of the top 10. According to one of the report's co-editors, "The U.S. is eating the dust of countries that have thrown off the 20th-century shackles of big government spending and massive federal programs."

The real issue is not where the US ranks today, but how to set federal policies that drive our economy into the future. Slogans such as "less government" or "lower taxes" may work as sound bites but have little practical application when it comes to the nuts and bolts of how the federal government operates.

The real issue is how, not how much, to regulate the economy. It is Winston's view that the most consequential government policy for securing our economic future is to ensure that regulations, fiscal policy, and even judicial decisions are based on high quality data. This is why the Data Quality Act, which sets standards for the quality of information disseminated by Executive Branch agencies, is so important to all economic stakeholders. The most important means of freeing the US economy is not through slogans but through strict adherence to the Data Quality Act.
  • Click to read article.

    CRE Homepage