Leading the most-free states in this year’s report are Delaware and Texas, while West Virginia and New Mexico are the least free. Protesters might argue that these benefits have been accumulated by relatively few — the 1 percent — while leaving the majority of Americans behind.
Let’s look into this conjecture using data from the Economic Policy Institute, which compares the share of income of the highest earners to that of middle and lower income earners in the mid-2000s. These data do not demonstrate that more economic freedom has been the source of inequities in the distribution of income. In fact, if we compare the 10 most economically free states between 1981 and 2005 with the 10 least free states, the opposite is the case. The ratio of average family income of the richest fifth compared with the poorest fifth is 6.9 in the most free states compared with 7.1 in the least free states.
The gap between the richest and poorest is actually larger for the least free states. Based on these numbers, it is difficult to argue that the free market has led to worse outcomes for the majority of Americans. More government spending and higher taxation will not alleviate the plight of struggling workers.
Protesters seeking to improve opportunities for all Americans should be protesting on Capitol Hill, demanding Congress to give Americans back the freedom to pursue their own economic well-being through cooperative economic activities that lead to prosperity for all.