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KUHNER: A socialist America?

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COMMENTARY:

The mainstream media have downplayed the profound significance that an Obama presidency will have in combination with a Democratic congressional supermajority - the transformation of our country into a socialist state.

The U.S.A. will become the U.S.S.A., the United Socialist States of America. Capitalism, self-reliance, limited government, personal responsibility, Christian moral standards - all the key traditions that built modern America - will be swept away in a liberal tidal wave.

According to current polls, Sen. Barack Obama is poised to win the White House on Nov. 4. Democrats are also expected to increase their majorities in Congress. In fact, some polls indicate they can attain a filibuster-proof Senate of 60 seats. This will enable Democrats to pass almost any legislation without fear of Republicans blocking it. Democrats will control every branch of government.

The results will be not only "change," but a historic political shift to the left - one that will permanently alter America for the worse.

On taking office, Mr. Obama will focus immediately on passing universal health care. His plan calls for a national public insurance program modeled on Medicare, except it will be available to everyone. Most analysts predict it will shift nearly 50 million Americans from private coverage to government-run care and create a massive, new entitlement - the largest expansion of government since the Great Society.

Eventually, the program will evolve into what Mr. Obama says he truly wants: a Canadian-style, single-payer system, in which health care is nationalized. Socialized medicine will do in America what it has done in Western Europe and Canada: push politics permanently to the left. The program's vast size and immense cost will lead to rising taxes and the rationing of services. Moreover, once such a radical, complicated monstrosity is in place, it is almost impossible to dismantle it - no matter how poorly it performs (just look at Canada and Britain, where there are long waiting lines, substandard technology and poor treatment yet reform is consistently opposed by entrenched interests).

National health care will be the final piece in establishing a cradle-to-grave, liberal welfare state. America's social programs will resemble those of statist Europe; we will also resemble the Continent's anemic growth rates, lower productivity and higher unemployment. America's culture of entrepreneurialism and technological dynamism will degenerate into one characterized by economic dependency and social stagnation.

Mr. Obama will ram through Congress increases in the top rates for income taxes, capital gains and dividends. More ominously, he vows to lift or eliminate the cap on payroll taxes, which funds Social Security and Medicare. Hence, a tax designed to maintain a pension insurance system will be used for the redistribution of wealth. Democrats' class-warfare, soak-the-rich policies will deepen the economic downturn, kill job creation and discourage corporate investment. These policies will permanently expand the federal government's tax share of gross domestic product: Big government will become super-size government.

Led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Democrats are likely to pass a series of laws cementing their control of Congress for years to come. Their goal: to tilt the electoral playing field decisively in their favor. They will surely finally pass amnesty for the 20 million illegal immigrants in America. This will transform the Hispanic voting bloc into a key - and loyal - segment of the Democrats' coalition, and help to forge a new Democratic majority. Felons, too, will be given the right to vote. And the District of Columbia will be granted congressional representation - meaning more Democratic seats.

Also, Democrats hope to muzzle conservative talk radio. Liberals in Congress or an Obama Federal Communications Commission will attempt to reimpose the Fairness Doctrine - the pernicious notion that the public airwaves must have an "equal" and "fair" distribution of conservative and liberal views. The intent is to force radio owners to air unpopular liberal talk-show hosts, as well as empower the FCC to harass stations with potential lawsuits over allegedly "excessive" conservative content. Air America dismally failed in the marketplace of ideas. The progressive movement, however, plans to use state power to compel ideological conformity.

The Obama-Pelosi-Reid unholy alliance will complete the revolutionary project of the 1960s: a society stripped from its traditional Christian moorings. Mr. Obama has made no secret of his support for abortion rights. He is a radical, an extremist, on the issue. He opposes the ban on partial-birth abortion. As an Illinois state legislator, he even voted against a law to preserve an infant's life if an abortion is botched.

Finally, his administration will consolidate a liberal Supreme Court and thus advance the leftist social agenda of abortion on demand, gay rights, the decriminalization of prostitution, the legalization of marijuana and euthanasia. The culture of death will triumph. Democrats will finally attain the twin goals of liberalism: economic collectivism and moral anarchy.

President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal experimented with socialism. Mr. Obama's presidency will achieve it.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times.

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