KUHNER: United States of France - Washington Times
France’s decay serves as a warning to America. For centuries, Paris was the cradle of Western civilization. The French, however, have hit hard times. Their country is dying, and most French citizens don’t seem to care. This threatens to be our fate as well.
France’s first-round presidential elections were held on Sunday. The Socialist Party’s candidate, Francois Hollande, slightly edged out President Nicolas Sarkozy, 27.9 percent to 26.7 percent. The two will head into a runoff on May 6. Mr. Hollande is widely expected to win, granting the Socialists almost complete control of the French political system.
Mr. Sarkozy’s defeat should come as no surprise. The French conservative committed the cardinal sin in politics: He overpromised and underdelivered. In 2007, Mr. Sarkozy ran on a winning platform of economic reform, law and order and restoring France’s national identity. He has failed on every count. The French economy is stagnant, weighed down by a bloated welfare state. High taxes and runaway spending have led to economic sclerosis, severe unemployment and soaring deficits. France’s debt-to-gross-domestic-product (GDP) ratio is at 90 percent - the tipping point at which it is almost impossible for a nation to avoid bankruptcy.