Leave "Julia" alone!

My reaction to Julia was more Peggy Lee-ish: This is a cradle to grave welfare-state? There ain’t much there! Julia gets Head Start, goes to school, can stay on Mom + Dad’s health plan until age 26. She gets a slightly lower student loan rate. Her insurance covers preventive care and free prenatal screenings. And an SBA loan. That’s about it–a relative few discrete interventions of limited benefit. For a vast swath of her life–from 42-65–the Obamans can’t think of a thing the government does for her. She’s on her own! As cradle to grave government nannying goes, this isn’t oppressive. It’s pathetic. We’re going broke so a few kids can get cheaper loans and birth control?

Julia is far more revealing for what the Obama campaigners left out: Julia never gets food stamps, for instance, even though–thanks to an Obama-prodded expansion–46 million Americans do, at a cost of $78 billion annually. (SBA loans, in contrast, cost only about $1 billion). Food stamps are too controversial, I guess–they’re typically available without much in the way of a work requirement. Julia doesn’t even get the Earned Income Tax Credit (which is far less controversial, because it only goes to earners, though it costs almost as much as food stamps). The idea that Julia might be poor must not have tested well.