Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Life of Julia (Real World Edition)

(UPDATE: Here's a nice video rebuttal to the Life of Julia.

(The original Life of Julia is an Obama fantasy about how a hypothetical baby girl born this year might live out her life under Obama's policies. Here's what I think would actually happen...)

3 Years Old: Julia is enrolled in a Head Start program to help get her ready for school. Approximately $14,000 is spent providing her with a "leg up", but any apparent gains have evaporated by the time Julia enters second grade.

18 Years Old: As she prepares for her first semester of college, Julia and her family qualify for President Obama's American Opportunity Tax Credit—worth up to $10,000 over four years. Julia is also one of millions of students who receive a Pell Grant to help put a college education within reach. But because such grants and handouts have continued to push the cost of college education ever higher, college is actually even less affordable when Julia starts that when she was born. She is forced to take out a student loan to cover the difference.

22 Years Old: During college, Julia undergoes surgery. It is thankfully covered by her insurance due to a provision in health care reform that lets her stay on her parents' coverage until she turns 26. Otherwise, she would have had to use the low-cost insurance most colleges offer to their students.

23 Years Old: Because of steps like the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Julia is one of millions of women across the country who knows she'll always be able to stand up for her right to equal pay. She starts her career as a web designer. She was lucky to get a job at all, though; millions of her peers are unable to because of continued high unemployment.

25 Years Old: After graduation, Julia's federal student loans are more manageable since President Obama capped income-based federal student loan payments and kept interest rates low. These low rates, coupled with skyrocketing college costs, have led to an explosion in student loans. Julia has a job and is responsible about paying back her loans, but millions of her peers don't or can't, and the system loses billions of taxpayer dollars.

27 Years Old: For the past four years, Julia has worked full-time as a web designer. Thanks to Obamacare, her health insurance is required to cover birth control and preventive care. Of course, her employer no longer provides health insurance, because requirements like that have made it cheaper just to pay the Obamacare penalty. Julia has health care, but little choice over her care.

31 Years Old: Julia decides to have a child. Throughout her pregnancy, she benefits from maternal checkups, prenatal care, and free screenings under health care reform. Prior to reform, she would have been required to pay a $25 co-pay for the entire pregnancy. Julia tries to be grateful that changing America's system of health insurance saved her $25.

37 Years Old: Julia's son Zachary starts kindergarten. The public schools in their neighborhood have better facilities and great teachers because of President Obama's investments in education and programs like Race to the Top. Of course, Julia and her husband had to take out a massive mortgage to afford a house in that neighborhood.

42 Years Old: Julia decides to start her own web business. She qualifies for a Small Business Administration loan, giving her the money she needs to invest in her business. But she quickly realizes that bureaucratic red tape involved with starting a business is so costly and time-consuming that it's more worthwhile to just stay with her existing job.

65 Years Old: Julia would have enrolled in Medicare. But the system, drowning in debt, was drastically cut decades before Julia was eligible. It now covers such a minimal amount of care that Julia is forced to dig into savings to afford private health insurance.

67 Years Old: Julia retires. After years of contributing to Social Security, that system, too, has been drastically cut for budgetary reasons. Julia gets back much less than she paid in.

I hope Julia contributed to her 401(k).