I just ran across an interesting piece of information released by Itar-Tass, the Russian news agency. I didn't quite believe it and set on a journey to find out exactly how distorted the story was. According to Tass, the United States has dropped out of the world's 10 freest economies list. Yeah, you shaking your head, too? And all this time we thought that President Putin was becoming more westernized.

Actually, and rather unbelievably, the statement is true. I spent some time in Moscow during the Communist reign and statements like this were taken at face value. No questions asked, at least at that time. But back here, I turned to my own sources and sure enough, there it was: for the first time since the U.S.-based conservative Heritage Foundation and The World Street Journal began compiling the Index of Economic Freedom, the U.S. has been dropped from the list of the world's top ten economies with the biggest degree of economic freedom. Incredible, but true.

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