If you boiled the work of the Rio Grande Foundation down to two words, those words would be “Economic Freedom.” The free market think tank Fraser Institute just came out with the latest edition of its Economic Freedom of North America 2017 report which (in its full form) compares US states, Canadian provinces, and even Mexican states on economic freedom. What is “economic freedom” and how is it measured?
According to the Fraser Institute, economic freedom means “the ability of individuals to act in the economic sphere free of undue restrictions.” The report itself employs 10 variables for the 92 provincial/state governments in Canada, the United States, and Mexico in three areas:
1. Government Spending;
2. Taxes; and
3. Labor Market Freedom.
New Mexico’s position is highlighted on the map above as it is within the group of “Least Free” states in the US. As seen below, New Mexico is freer only than New York and California, both of which, despite falling into unfree status at least have major industries operating within their borders. New Mexico, on the other hand, is not industrialized and almost wholly relies on federal spending and the oil and gas industries.