The Lonely Life of Julia

Daily Best of the Web   —   Posted on May 4, 2012

The following is an excerpt from’s “Best of the Web” written by the editor, James Taranto.

The Lonely Life of Julia
…Julia’s story is told in an interactive feature titled “The Life of Julia” on the Obama campaign website. Julia, who has no face, is depicted at various ages from 3 through 67, enjoying the benefits of various Obama-backed welfare-state programs.

As a toddler, she’s in a head-start program. Skip ahead to 17, and she’s enrolled at a Race to the Top high school. Her 20s are very active: She gets surgery and free birth control through ObamaCare regulations, files a lawsuit under the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and pays off her student loans at a low interest rate. We get updates at age 31, 37 and 42–and then the narrative skips ahead 23 years when she enrolls in Medicare. Two years later, she’s on Social Security, at which point she can die at any time.

In a column amusingly titled “Who the Hell Is ‘Julia’ and Why Am I Paying for Her Whole Life?” David Harsanyi raises an obvious objection to the story: “What we are left with is a celebration of a how a woman can live her entire life by leaning on government intervention, dependency and other people’s money rather than her own initiative or hard work. It is, I’d say, implicitly un-American, in the sense that it celebrates a mindset we have–outwardly, at least–shunned.”

This may explain why, in the campaign’s telling, nothing happens to Julia between 42 and 65. That period includes the typical peak earning years–the time at which, assuming Julia is gainfully employed, she will be paying the biggest price for “Obama’s” generosity.

At 31, the story tells us, “Julia decides to have a child. Throughout her pregnancy, she benefits from maternal checkups, prenatal care, and free screenings under health care reform.” In due course she bears a son named Zachary, the only other character in the tale.

Harsanyi is right. Obama is setting forward a vision contrary to the American tradition of self-sufficiency–a welfare state that runs from cradle to grave. And it’s a dishonest vision, because it presents all of these benefits as “free,” never acknowledging that they are paid for through coercive taxation.

Not to mention unsustainable levels of debt: Commentary’s Alana Goodman charts the life of a now 3-year-old “Julia” and compares it with debt projections at various stages of her life: “Julie [sic] hits a milestone around 2084, when publicly held debt will be just about 200 percent of [gross domestic product]–and rising.”

The most shocking bit of the Obama story is that Julia apparently never marries. She simply “decides” to have a baby, and Obama uses other people’s money to help her take care of it. Julia doesn’t appear to be poor; at various points the story refers to her glamorous career as a Web designer, and it makes no mention of her benefiting from poverty programs like Medicaid or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

In 1999 Lionel Tiger coined the word “bureaugamy” to refer to the relationship between officially impoverished mothers of illegitimate children and the government. “The Life of Julia” is an insidious attack on the institution of the family, an endorsement of bureaugamy even for middle-class women.

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