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A Libertarian Research Tank Thinks Texas Has the Fewest Personal Freedoms. What About Freedom in General?


CheapNailsalonsnearmeIn a startling revelation by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, Texas has been ranked last in personal freedoms in the United States. This ranking was disclosed in the institute’s seventh edition of the report titled “Freedom in 50 States,” which scrutinizes the impact of state and local government policies across a broad spectrum of areas including taxes, education, and marriage, spanning from 2000 to 2022.

The report presents a multifaceted view of freedom, evaluating not only personal liberty but also fiscal and regulatory aspects affecting economic freedom. Surprisingly, Texas, known for its strong stance on individual liberties, finds itself at the bottom of the list, particularly in the realms of travel and marijuana laws.

Texas’s low rankings in specific categories such as “Cannabis and Saliva Freedom” and “Travel Freedom” significantly impacted its overall position. The state’s approach to cannabis, focusing only on the lost consumer and producer surplus due to prohibition, not considering the costs of arrests and incarceration, placed it behind California, which topped this category.

Similarly, Texas’s policies regarding the use and retention of automated license plate reader data and the availability of driver’s licenses to individuals without a social security number contributed to its poor ranking in travel freedom. Incarceration and arrests, the most heavily weighted category in personal freedoms, saw Texas at a dismal 43rd position.

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This is in stark contrast to states like Rhode Island, Maine, and Massachusetts, which lead in this section. On the other hand, Texas fared significantly better in economic freedom, ranking sixth, particularly excelling in labor market freedom and taxation policies. The state’s approach to political contributions also earned it the top spot in campaign finance freedom.

In light of these findings, the report’s authors recommend several policy changes for Texas to improve its freedom scores, including enacting a general education savings account plan, exercising more fiscal discipline at the local level, and passing laws to facilitate direct-to-consumer auto sales.

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