I have to say, I'm offended. And not just because I'm conservative.
- Overall: Wasn't Women's Lib against the whole "knight in shining armor" shtick? Here's a woman who apparently would never make it in the big, bad world if not for her male hero, President Obama. She needs a man to handle all her financial and health decisions throughout her life. I'm all for the traditional social structure of the man being head of household, but that doesn't mean women should be a bunch of dolts!
- Preschool: I was in and out of public school during my elementary years. Preschool put me ahead of the kindergarten curriculum in my state, which was seriously frowned upon by the school district in question. My experiences in the public school system (as a straight A student) led me to years of therapy, a decade of depression, and nightmares from which I still suffer. My parents' decision to homeschool me is literally the reason I'm alive today. And I've long lost track of the number of people I've met who had it much worse than I did. My state (and most states, for that matter) has a horrendous drop out rate, and most students cannot function at grade level in one or more areas. That's not to mention that those grade levels are wretchedly dumbed down to start with. The last thing this country needs is an extension of the conveyor belt that shoves our children through a painfully and dangerously dysfunctional education system. Preparing kids for twelve years of torture is not the answer--redesigning the system is.
- SATs: I never took SATs. I graduated high school in the tenth grade through my state's proficiency exam. I then went to a public community college (the only part of the education system that I actually think should be expanded) to prep for college and earn an AA. In the process, I completed all my lower division work--saving myself and my family thousands of dollars. When I transferred to university, I only needed my college transcripts. With the GPA I had earned, I could have gone to Stanford if money were no object or I had been so inclined. SATs are not a necessity, and universities have become less stringent in the ensuing decade.
- College: Getting more people into college only serves to devalue the degree. In economics, it's called inflation. When more people get degrees, it makes it harder (NOT easier) for new grads and people who do not or do not yet have degrees to find work, let alone work with viable wages. I know. My husband and I have both been there.
- Student loans: Student loans drive up the minimum price of college degrees and encourage people who do not necessarily need degrees to pursue them. I was one of those suckers. If you pursue a degree internationally (as my husband did for his MBA) the price tag drops significantly. It's called supply and demand.
- Insurance: As a concept, I am opposed to most forms of health insurance. Non-catastrophic care coverage drives a wedge between product and price. If people have the opportunity to know in advance the cost of care, they can make decisions about that care, and the medical "market" will settle on relatively standard prices for different procedures and exams. As it is, patients have no say over how much will be spent overall on their healthcare, let alone how much they will spend out of pocket. Health insurance has artificially driven up the cost of care. Getting goverment involved doesn't help.
- On a related topic, my husband and I are low income. When we were lower income than we are now, we applied for and were denied coverage by MediCal (I was in the hospital with the birth of the Eel at the time, and it was hospital policy that we apply for it). The reason given? The state refused to believe our income statement. No one who was not on SNAP could possibly be that poor. And yes, I looked into it, our circumstances prevented us from qualifying for food stamps as well. Based on that experience, I don't think government involvement in the world of insurance is off to a very good start.
- Career: Julia is able to start her career before graduation. Does the administration know how hard it can be to find minimum wage work before graduation in some parts of the country (I know that doesn't apply everywhere, but it did for me). My husband wasn't able to find anything steadier than subbing until about a year after he got his MBA. What he has now is salaried, but the wage works out to far less than $6/hour if you do the math. Unless things improve significantly for us, it will be another ten years before we even qualify to start paying our student loans back (yes, we really were that financially stupid).
- Career: Julia's career is as a web designer. Really? Nothing in a less saturate field? Nothing more intrinsically useful to society? I'm so used to hearing rants about women needing to go into the sciences and how we need more people in general working in engineering, medicine, etc. Couldn't Julia do something with a little more tangible value?
- Family: Julia decides to have a baby. Umm...It's not quite that simple. You don't just snap your fingers one day and think yourself into a pregnancy. We're talking about the creation of a whole human being. It's a bit more involved than buying a new fridge. Reproductive beliefs aside, I really didn't appreciate how flippantly this issue was addressed.
- Retirement: We all know that Social Security is going down the tubes no matter what. It's been anticipated for a long, long time. And retiring at 65? That's a funny joke. Even EuroZone countries are raising their retirement ages. But what really caught my attention was that Julia spends her free time in retirement volunteering at a community garden. There's no hint of her having any relationship with, say, her son and presumed grandkids. What gives?
Thank you, Mr. Obama, for making it clear what you really think of women.