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U.S. slips in economic freedom ranking

FILE - In this June 4, 2016, file photo, prominent political analyst Kem Ley smiles as he celebrated the 67th anniversary to commemorate the Kampuchea Krom territory's return to Vietnam by the French government, at Chroy Changvar, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Tens of thousands of Cambodians marched Sunday, July 24, 2016 in the funeral procession for the leading government critic who was fatally shot in an attack that raised suspicion of a political conspiracy. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith, File)

Estonia? Really? America is behind Estonia?

According to the Heritage Foundation’s 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, America has indeed slipped behind the former communist Soviet republic in the rankings.

And, it was the first time ever that America has not been among the top 10 countries for economic freedom.

David Boze talked to Heritage Vice President of Domestic and Economic Policy Derrick Morgan about the rankings, and why America has fallen so far behind.

“When we fall out of the top 10, does it become more difficult to get back in?” Boze asked Morgan.

Morgan said that it is generally harder for a country to bounce back after the government disrespects property rights and becomes more corrupt.

“Those are the kinds of things that take a long time to turn around,” he said.

Morgan told Boze that the index takes several factors into account, including the rule of law, property rights, freedom from corruption, government size, tax burden, government spending, regulations, and access to open markets.

“We’re moving toward a [European style economy] while many countries in Europe are moving the other way,” Morgan reported.

The top 10 countries in the index – in order- are Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Chile, Mauritius, Ireland, and Denmark. America is No. 12, right behind Estonia, and just ahead of Bahrain.

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