We’ve never been inclined to put much stock in Sen. JohnF. Kerry’s plan for transforming the economy into a cornucopia that magically yields millions upon millions of high-paying jobs. Kerry’s plan essentially revolves around higher tax rates on the upper-income brackets, more stringent regulation of business and more lavish government spending. Exactly such a plan already has been put to the test elsewhere, namely Europe. The result:a Euro-region average unemployment rate of 9 percent, with even higher unemployment rates in France (9.9 percent) and Germany (10.7 percent). America’s economy puts those numbers to shame, as do ournation’s GDP growth rates. Our unemployment rate today, 5.4 percent, compares favorably with the average for the 1980s (5.8 percent) and 1990s (6.2 percent). These are remarkable figures considering that the nation was dealt a devastating economic blow in the 9/11 assault and forced into a costly new homeland security effort and a war on international terrorism. But were we inclined to put any stock in Kerry’s economic plan, this thought would still give us pause in pondering our vote: Prosperity is irrelevant if you’re not free and-- above all else-- alive to partake of it. It is on the fundamental, bedrock issue of terrorism/homeland security that Kerry most miserably flunks the test of leadership. And in doing so, he also flunks the test of character.