Is America’s role as a global leader over, given inevitable decline at home? Americans are running up a $1.6 trillion budget deficit this year. The use of food stamps and unemployment benefits remains at record levels. In the last two years, unemployment rarely has dipped below 9 percent. The housing market is moribund. Gasoline is at a nationwide average of $4 a gallon. Our aggregate debt exceeds $14 trillion, up $5 trillion alone since 2009. Medicare and Social Security will soon be insolvent at the current rates of disbursement. States like California, Illinois, Michigan, and New York are almost insolvent.
These depressing indicators—coupled with the rise of a confident 1 billion person India and China—have convinced the Obama administration that America is neither ‘exceptional’ nor able to assert its accustomed preeminent leadership. Decline, not American ascendance, is the administration’s buzzword, a pathology shared with the imploding welfare state of the European Union that can no longer afford the redistribution of wealth to its Mediterranean members.