Her name is “Julia,” and if you haven’t seen her, she’s a colorful cartoon character invented by the Obama campaign to help spread the message of how women will “benefit” under the president’s policies. What it shows instead, though, is the president’s vision of America — that individuals need the federal government at each stage of their life, and that he deserves credit for making our lives even better.
In Julia’s story, as depicted in a cartoon slideshow, a faceless young American woman grows from birth to old age with the government at her side every step of the way. In the good times and the bad times, government is there to lift Julia up — and without government, Julia could not succeed in life.
This disturbing depiction of the president’s governing philosophy begins when Julia turns 3, at which time she is enrolled in the federally funded Head Start pre-school program. “Because of steps President Obama has taken to improve programs like this one, Julia joins thousands of students across the country who will start kindergarten ready to learn and succeed,” the cartoon explains. Never mind that Head Start is a proven failure. Despite Washington spending more than $167 billion on the program, a recent government study shows it has had no lasting benefits.
But this is only the beginning. According to the cartoon, thanks to President Obama’s policies, Julia is prepared for college, can afford to pay for college, has free health care, can repay for her student loans, enjoys free birth control, can have a child and give him a good education, can start a new business and hire employees, and can comfortably retire to a life of volunteering at a community garden. From birth to death, President Obama wants the federal government to carry Julia on its shoulders, and he wants to take credit for all the blessings of a life well-lived. That’s the liberal vision of America.
What’s missing from this picture? The harm that big government policies inflict on people like Julia. From the moment of birth, thanks to Washington’s thirst for more spending, Julia is burdened by tens of thousands of dollars in debt. Despite the federal government subsidizing college tuition (including increasing Pell grants by 475 percent since 1980), costs of attending college have increased 439 percent since 1982. Under the president’s health care plan, millions of families will be dropped from their employer-based health care plans and dumped into government-run exchanges. What about the promise of jobs under the president’s economy? America has had 39 straight months of unemployment over 8 percent. And when it comes to retirement, Julia is in big trouble. According to the government’s estimates, Social Security will be bankrupt by 2033 unless Congress enacts serious reforms.
There’s another vision — a conservative vision. The Heritage Foundation created its own version of the “Julia” cartoon and showed how individuals would benefit under conservative reforms like those in Heritage’s Saving the American Dream plan. Instead of growing government and increasing its involvement in our lives, conservative policies restrain government and give individuals more freedom to make their own choices and succeed on their own merits.
With reforms to education and expanded school choice, Julia’s parents will be able to give her the education she deserves. Innovations in higher education will control costs and make it more affordable for Julia to attend college without sinking into debt. Julia and her family will be able to purchase a health insurance plan that fits their needs, she will have more freedom to pursue the kind of job she wants, a reformed tax system will make it easier for Julia to invest and grow a business, and her retirement is more secure thanks to personal savings and a stronger Social Security program.
The conservative vision for Julia’s future is one that empowers her as an individual — not one that pegs her successes to the expansion of the federal government.
Be sure to view Heritage’s “A Better Life for Julia” on The Foundry.