(NationalSentinel) Economic Growth: You might think that the United States, with the world’s largest economy, is the most economically free country on the planet. But you’d be wrong.

In fact, America isn’t even close to being number one.

According to the latest economic freedom rankings by the Heritage Foundation, the most economically free zone in the world is actually part of a Communist-run country: Hong Kong.

The U.S., meanwhile, ranked a dismal 17th on Heritage’s scale, and we’re actually trending downward.

The top five are as follows:

  1. Hong Kong
  2. Singapore
  3. New Zealand
  4. Switzerland
  5. Australia

Countries ranked ahead of the U.S. (in no particular order) include Estonia, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Ireland, the UK and Finland, among others.

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What makes Hong Kong No. 1 should have, in theory, made the United States the global economic freedom leader.

“Hong Kong has demonstrated a high degree of economic resilience and remains one of the world’s most competitive financial and business hubs. The high-quality legal framework, which provides effective protection of property rights and strong support for the rule of law, continues to be a cornerstone of strength for this dynamic city. There is little tolerance for corruption, and government integrity is buttressed by a high degree of transparency,” said the Heritage Foundation, in its ranking report.

President Donald Trump has a lot of work ahead of him if he is to restore the drive to America’s economic engine. Decades of over-regulation by both major political parties has steadily eroded the entrepreneurial spirit and free-market capitalism that led us to create the world’s biggest economy in the first place.

Fortunately, he’s already begun. He has signed executive actions calling for the streamlining of the federal permitting process and the elimination of two regulations for every new one issued by the federal bureaucracy.

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