(With apologies to the Obama perpetual re-election campaign. Other people have had a go at this concept – I think The Life of Brian is one of the funniest, but I wanted to have a go at this myself. )
3 Years Old – Under President Eisenhower, Celia stays home with her younger brother, as her full-time work-at-home Mom helps her get ready for school by reading aloud to her, supervising her playtime and providing a secure home environment. She will join thousands of students across the country who will start kindergarten ready to learn and succeed.
17 Years Old – Under President Nixon, Celia takes the SAT and is on track to begin applying for college … which college program includes two years at a local junior college capped by two years at a state university – a public university system that the taxes paid by Celia’s parents over the years have subsidized. The public high school which Celia attends is in a working-class suburb, but offers academically enriched courses for those students who qualify for them.
18 Years Old – Under President Nixon, as she prepares for her first semester of college, Celia lives at home, and works a summer job to pay for the minimal tuition and books required for her college courses – and also for a student bus pass on the rapid transit network supported by the taxes that her parents have paid over the years. Celia and her parents wouldn’t dream of applying for an Opportunity Tax Credit or a Pell Grant to bring a college education within reach.
20 Years Old – Under President Ford, Celia has her wisdom teeth removed. This is paid for by her parent’s health insurance, which her father has through his work. The administration of President Ford has little or nothing to do with this.
22 Years Old – Under President Carter, Celia completes two years at the state university which has been supported by the taxes that her parents and grandparents have paid for decades. She lives at home with her parents, and works a part-time job to pay for tuition and books. She graduates with no student loan debt, federal or otherwise. In fact, Celia has a surplus from her job of approximately $1,500, sufficient to allow her to spend the summer in England on the cheap.
Celia enlists in the U.S. Air Force and trains as a public affairs/military broadcast technician, for a military salary, standards of work and chances of promotion which are equal to those of male public affairs/military broadcast technicians.
25 Years Old – Under President Carter, Celia has worked full-time as a military broadcast specialist. Thanks to military medical care, birth control and preventive care are available. And thanks to military personnel assignment policies and requirements, her significant other is stationed 3,000 miles away, making such birth control and preventive care superfluous. Celia focuses on her work rather than worry about her health – although now and again, she worries about not getting many letters from him.
31 Years Old – Under President Reagan, Celia has been promoted to E-5, and is earning enough to afford after-school child-care for her daughter; child care which she locates on her own, and pays for fully out of her own pocket, unassisted by any federal program or subsidy … other than military pay and allowances. Celia’s daughter attends DODDS schools, which are very highly thought of in educational circles and do not need any help from a program called ‘Race to the Top.’
38 Years Old – Under President Clinton, Celia purchases a small suburban house on a 25-year mortgage, with the assistance of the GI Bill … which was established for military veterans at the close of World War II. Necessary appliances and renovations to the house are paid for entirely out of funds Celia had saved for that purpose.
42 Years Old – Under President Clinton, Celia retires from the military at 20 years time in federal service, having – depending on the station, assignment and duty requirements – usually worked 60-80 hours weekly and been on call for those hours not actually on the job. She retires with a military pension of half her base pay, amounting to approximately one-forth of her military income. As payment on the house takes up approximately two-thirds of that pension payment, it is necessary for Celia to work at a full-time job for the next eight years. As for medical and dental care, Celia pays into the Tricare Prime program.
49 Years Old – Under President Bush, Celia goes into partnership with the owner of a small local publishing firm, who has never taken any kind of loan or participated in any Small Business Administration program. Celia also begins writing historical novels, and freelancing as a writer and editor, which activities bring in a small but adequate income from the private sector to supplement the military pension. No government program is involved in this.
67 Years Old – Under President ???, Celia will pay off the last of the mortgage on the house, and also be eligible to collect Social Security … a program which Celia has paid into for all of her working life, civilian and military. However, Celia is not holding her breath on actually being able to collect Social Security or any portion thereof, no matter what the politicians pledge or promise. In fact, Celia is assuming that she will continue working as a small publisher and freelance writer until the day that she drops.
So … umm. Nice try, President Obama. Next!!!