For Obama, this is a feature, not a bug

When my daughter was in fifth grade, we read (together) a sort of primer on economics called Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? It cited earlier versions of the following report, information that she hasn't forgotten.  My, how things have changed in just a few years.

Via the Daily Caller and Weasel Zippers, the Economic Freedom of the World: 2012 Annual Report:

...the Fraser Institute released its “Economic Freedom of the World: 2012 Annual Report.” Analyzing data from 144 countries based on 42 distinct variables, the study’s authors rank countries according to their relative level of economic freedom.

After ranking 2nd in 2000, the U.S. falls to 18th in this year’s report. As the authors explain:

“[T]he United States has fallen precipitously from second in 2000 to eighth in 2005 and 19th  in 2010 (unadjusted ranking of 18th). By 2009, the United States had fallen behind Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Chile, and Mauritius, countries that chose not to follow the path of massive growth in government financed by borrowing that is now the most prominent characteristic of US fiscal policy. By 2010, the United States had also fallen behind Finland and Denmark, two European welfare states. Moreover, it now trails Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Estonia, Taiwan, and Qatar, countries that are not usually perceived of as bastions of economic freedom.”

But as Michael Tanner points out at NRO

...when it comes to defending economic liberty, Mitt Romney has spent most of his time in a defensive crouch. He occasionally breaks form to promise he won’t really reduce taxes on the wealthy, won’t cut Medicare, and wants to keep some parts of Obamacare. He’s actually running ads attacking the president for not confronting China over trade.
 
Americans instinctively know the importance of economic freedom. They know that it is their ability to invest, start businesses, and hire workers that builds a prosperous country. They know that millions have come to this country and prospered because they had freedom to pursue their economic aspirations as well as their personal ones. And they find this freedom now slipping away.
 
They need a candidate to speak for them . . . and for freedom.
Come on, Governor Romney.  Time to trust your pants and take off the kid gloves.  It's time for bare-knuckle boxing.