According to the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom published by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal, 16 countries rank higher than the United States in protecting private property rights. From the report: "The United States’ economic freedom score is 78.0, making its economy the 8th freest in the 2010 Index. Its score is 2.7 points lower than last year, reflecting notable decreases in financial freedom, monetary freedom, and property rights."
A ranking of 17, behind such countries as Hong Kong, Singapore, Norway and Germany, in the protection of property rights is hardly satisfactory. The constitutional right of private property ownership is a fundamental principle of American society and liberty. As a bedrock principle that is constitutionally guaranteed, protection of property rights should be a priority for American citizens and our government. Yet, given the government's power to exercise eminent domain, protection of private property rights often succumbs to the power of the government.The opportunity to improve the country's poor international standing on the protection of property rights lies with each individual state. Should lawmakers in states such as New York and California enact effective statutory changes to protect private property rights, as many states have done in the five years since Kelo, the position our country holds among other nations in the economic freedom index, and particularly the property right index, will most certainly rise.