"This campaign is going to deal with many complicated issues, but there is a basic choice that we're going to face," Mitt Romney told voters after winning the Wisconsin primary in April. "The president has spent the last four years laying the foundation for a new government-centered society. I will spend the next four years rebuilding the foundation of a opportunity society led by free people and free enterprises."
It is not often that a presidential campaign goes out of its way to confirm an opponent's narrative of the election, but President Obama's re-election team did exactly that last Thursday. They released a 14-page slide show titled "The Life of Julia." Each slide documents a phase of a fictional and faceless women's life that shows how Obama is trying to create a cradle-to-grave welfare state, just as Romney warned.
At age three, Julia enrolls in Head Start which Obama claims will "get her ready for school." Never mind that the Department of Health and Human Services released a study last year finding that Head Start has had little to no effect on cognitive, socio-emotional, health, or parenting outcomes of participating children. They do no better than non-Head Start peers with similar economic and demographic profiles.
By age 17, Julia "is on track to start her college applications" because her high school is part of Obama's Race to the Top Department of Education program. Never mind that federal spending on education has more than doubled since 1970, without any noticeable improvement in education.
At age 22, Julia gets surgery thanks to the fact the Obamacare forced her parents' insurance company to keep her on their policy. Never mind that this mandate drove up health insurance costs for everyone and made it more expensive for an employer to give Julia a job and her own health insurance.
At age 25, Julia graduates from college with "more manageable" student loan debt thanks to Obama sponsored federal programs that "kept interest rates low." Never mind the fact that Obama's college loan program only lowered the average student borrower's payment by $7 a month. For that matter, never mind the multiple studies that show how federal tuition subsidies only increase college costs.
At age 42, Julia receives a subsidized loan from the Small Business Administration. Never mind that SBA loans account for around one percent of all small business loans outstanding, or that members of Congress have used the agency to enrich themselves and their supporters.
At age 67, Julia starts taking Social Security checks, enabling her to quit her paying job and start volunteering "at a community garden." Never mind the fact that the latest Social Security Trustees Report found that the Social Security Trust Fund is scheduled to go bankrupt in 2033.
In his 2012 State of the Union, Obama said, "I'm a Democrat. But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed: that government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more."
Can Obama really make that statement about every government program listed above? Is the federal government the only entity capable of serving as Julia's educator, doctor, banker and retirement provider?
President Reagan, whom Obama has begun invoking frequently on the campaign trail, sure didn't think so. "We have long since committed ourselves, as a people, to help those among us who cannot take care of themselves," President Reagan said in his First Inaugural Address. "But the federal government has proven to be the costliest and most inefficient provider of such help we could possibly have," Reagan finished.
Reagan knew, and Romney knows, that America did not become the richest and most powerful nation on earth by fostering greater citizen dependence on the federal government. Obama's Julia slide show proves he has not learned this lesson.
Conn Carroll is a senior editorial writer for The Washington Examiner. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.