This year has been a turning point in American history. Our constitutional republic is dying. President Obama's re-election was more than a victory for liberalism. It represented America's collective suicide -- a national push into a fiscal, cultural and moral abyss. We are sliding toward Greece.
Mr. Obama won despite chronic high unemployment, rising inflation and skyrocketing deficits. Our national debt stands at more than $16 trillion. We are the most indebted nation in history. It is almost impossible to dig our way out of this massive financial hole. Even if the president gets everything he wants in tax increases on the wealthy, it will only pay for 11 days of the government's annual spending. It is class warfare masquerading as serious public policy. His soak-the-rich rhetoric is nothing more than smoke and mirrors, casting the illusion that he knows -- or even cares -- how to solve the debt crisis.
America faces a seminal reality: We are broke, and we are getting broker by the day. This is the real "fiscal cliff" the country is about to jump off, not the artificial one consuming Washington. Instead of confronting our looming insolvency, the electorate voted to take the plunge. It ratified Mr. Obama's drive to erect the equivalent of a Franco-German welfare state. Consider Obamacare, the massive stimulus, failed green-energy boondoggles, record numbers on food stamps, constant extensions of unemployment benefits, public housing subsidies, unprecedented government spending and free contraception. Voters chose economic security over individual opportunity, handouts instead of self-reliance, statism over capitalism. Rather than rebuking Mr. Obama, they rewarded him.
His plan calls for piling trillions more upon the national debt. By 2016, the United States' debt ratio will reach that of Greece and other Euro-socialist basket cases. Once international creditors realize this, and they will soon, America's days as an economic superpower will be over. We will no longer be able to borrow to subsidize our deficit spending -- or at least not without being charged much higher interest rates. America's budget will be devoured by servicing the debt. This will squeeze funding for government programs and social services. Crushing taxes will have to be imposed. Low growth will become permanent. The American dream will fade away. We are doing to ourselves what imperial Britain, the Axis powers and Soviet Russia were unable to do to us: destroy our unique system of limited government and personal liberty.
A key reason for Mr. Obama's success is his cult of personality. He is deified by large segments of the liberal establishment. Hollywood practically worships him. For example, actor Jamie Foxx recently referred to the president as "our Lord and Savior." University faculties support him. Public unions rally to him. Environmentalists praise him. The homosexual and feminist lobbies adore him. Liberals in the media champion him. In fact, under his administration there has grown an incestuous government-media complex. Major outlets -- the New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Associated Press, Reuters, NPR, CNN and MSNBC -- act as little more than mouthpieces for the administration. Several weeks ago, MSNBC hosts including Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz and Lawrence O'Donnell visited Mr. Obama. Their goal: to perfectly toe the administration's line on budget negotiations with Republicans. The free press is fading and being replaced by sycophants and palace courtiers, cravenly serving the Democrats in power.
For decades, the secular left's aim has been to transform America into a European-style social democracy. Yet the more we become like Europe, the less American we become. Now we're a centralized, big-government mutant our Founding Fathers would find not only unrecognizable but repulsive. Our unique national identity is dissolving. American exceptionalism is in danger of becoming a thing of the past. Just like Europe, we can no longer pay our bills, generate economic dynamism or, eventually, even maintain our military might. An expensive entitlement state is incompatible with superpower status, and eventually, defense budgets must be scaled back to make way for free contraceptives and nationalized health care. One cannot have both butter and guns. Ask the Germans, the British, the French or the Japanese. Their days in the sun are over.
The real meaning of the Obama presidency is the end of America's greatness. The sad fact is the American people chose this path.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist and editorial writer at The Washington Times. He is also the host of "The Kuhner Report" from 6 to 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. to noon EST on WRKO AM-680 (www.wrko.com) in Boston.
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