Julia and the Community Garden

The Obama campaign is plugging “The Life of Julia,” designed to show how the government in general, and this administration’s policies in particular, help a hypothetical woman throughout her life.

The last entry, showing Julia at 67, really annoyed me:

Under President Obama: Julia retires. After years of contributing to Social Security, she receives monthly benefits that help her retire comfortably, without worrying that she’ll run out of savings. This allows her to volunteer at a community garden.

Really? We’re going to let Social Security remain unsound actuarially and allow it and other benefits for the elderly to bankrupt the country so “Julia” can volunteer in a community garden? I think that if “Julia” is healthy enough to be down on her hands and knees digging and weeding in the Summer sun, “Julia” can retire a couple of years later and help stave off national bankruptcy. [Note that the average sixty-seven year old woman has a life expectancy of eighteen years. “Julia” perhaps a bit longer, given her apparent health. Eighteen-plus years is an awfully long time to promise a healthy person he or she can retire on borrowed public money–which is probably why the president has said the age for social security should be on the table.]

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