That sense of dread you felt this morning on the subway wasn't just a nicotine craving or the desire to buy a handgun at a gun show: it was the black boot of fascism bearing down on your pallid, barcode-stamped, overtaxed neck. George Mason University's libertarian think tank the Mercatus Center has ranked New York State dead last in its "Freedom in the 50 States" index, calling it "by far the least free state in the Union." Granted the report didn't count Puerto Rico, Guam, or the other Micronesian state the US annexes, Hitlerville.

Why does New York hate America and George Washington so much? According to the report it's mostly about taxation: "New York has by far the highest taxes in the country. Property, selective sales, individual income, and corporate-income taxes are particularly high." The Empire State also happen to have "the strictest health-insurance community-rating regulations in the country," which we've TOTALLY been saying for years, and of course our "tobacco laws are extremely strict, and cigarette taxes are the highest in the country," not to mention that our motorists are "highly regulated" as well. So what's keeping us from emigrating to the state with the most freedom, New Hampshire (besides the fact that it's New Hampshire)?

We still retain a decent amount of personal freedom: marijuana is essentially decriminalized (although don't tell that to minorities living in New York City), and all that "spending on public welfare" that the report bemoans would also in theory improve the public welfare. Our "occupation licensing is somewhat better than average," which is a perfect "I <3 NY" t-shirt slogan. Let these libertarian eggheads have their freedom index: we have... FREE East River ferry service (until June 24th)!