My all time favorite movie is Mel Gibson’s 1995 Oscar winner Braveheart.  It’s the story of 13th century Sottish hero William Wallace’s efforts to free Scotland from the tyranny of the English.  The classic line delivered on horseback as he rallies his troops before the big battle –“they may take our lives -  but they’ll never take our freedom!” Flash forward to America 2014 and the horse has bucked us off and freedom seems to be slipping away.

A new Gallup poll found that fewer Americans feel they have the freedom to choose what to do with their lives, down from 87 percent in 2008 to 79 percent now. Compared with other nations, that puts us at Number 33, and out of 100 countries, one of only 21 that had a decline.

What’s going on?  Land of the FREE and home of the brave right?  The shining beacon on the hill, a light for the world—not so fast.

At the same time, separate polling from Pew Research found that the percentage of Americans who believe the U.S. "stands above" all other countries is now at 28 percent, down from 38 percent in 2011. Among young Americans 18 to 29, just 15 percent say the U.S. is the world’s Number 1 nation. Among seniors, 40 percent feel that way, but that's down from 50 percent three years ago.

Yahoo Finance notes that people feel they're falling behind, and the data show they're not imagining things. That loss of economic freedom impacts their ability to make other choices.