Your Future in Obama World
Here's what I may tell my almost-grown children, when they come home for the holidays. They're bright, in terms of GPA's, but they live in a lib college bubble that fuzzes up the truth about politics and the economy. What's obvious to most of us may be news to them:
It may seem as though nothing has changed, now that Obama and friends have retained control of the government, but that's an illusion. By laws passed and executive orders and regulations already written, by money printed and debt issued, the Powers That Be have already determined our future. You haven't noticed because most of the new policies haven't gone into effect yet, or if they are in effect, there is a lag time until their consequences are felt.
Money. When you shop for food or buy gas, you must have noticed prices going up, a dime here, a dime there. Inflation is already happening, thanks to Obama policies: limits on drilling and refusal to permit the Keystone pipeline drive up fuel costs. Shutting down power plants drives up utility costs. Printing money to offset federal debt inflates everything. Most goods and services will keep getting more expensive. Eventually, people on a low or fixed income (retirees and people on unemployment, welfare or SSI in particular) will struggle to pay for necessities, because cost of living increases won't keep up with rising prices. We won't let you starve, of course, but we won't be able to help you out as much as we have been because our own discretionary income will be smaller.
Health. We expected Romney to repeal/reform healthcare law, but in the wake of the election, ObamaCare remains the law of the land, even though the majority of Americans don't want it. Its effects on our family will be bad. Your grandmother is prone to falling. If she breaks a hip, she may need hip replacement, a $40,000 procedure for which Medicare, under ObamaCare rules, is likely to deny coverage, since she is eighty-eight. In that case, the rest of the family will chip in and pay for treatment. Ditto for your grandfather's health needs, at ninety-one. We would not expect you guys to share the burden, since you are still dependents, and under the new law, covered by our policy through age twenty-six. By the way, our premiums are going up by several thousand dollars next year, mostly due to the new law.
Wealth. The day after the election, your father said, "I won't be able to retire. I'm depressed." He wasn't just being emo. He had expected Romney to be elected, bringing into DC a new administration that would be pro business. Instead, we're ruled by left-wingers intent on 'redistributing wealth' from productive people to political cronies and recipients of gubmint checks. Your father had planned to sell his business within the next four years and live on the proceeds in retirement, then pass on the remainder to you and your siblings. Now, that's unlikely to happen, even if the business remains prfitable. I'm not confident the GOP will negotiate a deal to reduce the tax hikes already written into law for 2013, so our taxes will go up. For the foreseeable future, your father will keep working, with the expectation the feds will keep raising taxes, maybe into the 'confiscatory' range (as in France, where the Socialist government taxes high earners at 75%). When your father dies, unless we somehow get out from under the yoke of Obamism, the feds will take a big chunk of his estate. You guys will have to create your own wealth.
Jobs. This fall, a lot of companies kept on employees in expectation 'the jobs candidate' would get elected, but as soon as Obama 'won', thousands of people got the pink slip. Unless you buy the notion that government spending stimulates the economy, these jobs aren't coming back anytime soon. Possibly, you and your friends will hang on to part-time student-type work even after graduation: tutoring, sales clerking, lifeguarding, serving food, camp counseling. Compared to the pre-Obama years, more jobs and promotions will be subject to racial quotas, meaning you may lose out on a position you'd otherwise get because you're white. Federal policy and money favor unions also, so don't be surprised if you end up joining one, to get a job. Remember how many applications you guys had to send out to get last summer's jobs? This year, you'll have to start sooner and apply to more places.
Graduate school. We won't pay for it, so a teaching assistanceship may be your first real job. This perpetual student subsistence may be especially popular if the feds forgive student loans. If the loan forgiveness thing doesn't happen, you can be glad we paid for all of your college so you can start out debt-free.
Your address. It will change. Of course, you'll move out of your college town after graduation -- no jobs there. There's no guarantee you'll live near us. Who knows where you'll end up? It's the American way to move in search of opportunity even if it means leaving behind family and friends. You'll probably end up in one of the red states, where jobs are more plentiful because local laws are pro-business, and because the culture suits you better ('the great sort' trend). Alternatively, you may send your resume to a healthier economy outside the US, such as Canada.
Travel. I'm sorry we didn't come out for parent weekend in October, but with the economy so shaky, spending $2,000 on that seemed extravagant. This year, we're spending over ten grand to fly you guys home for holidays and vacations. We'll probably do the same next year, but after that, you're on your own. Ticket prices will continue to go up. along with everything else. If either of you takes a job in a faraway spot like Germany, we won't see each other for a long time.
Lifestyle. After college, you probably won't be one of the 17.2 million American adults living at home with parents, although you're welcome here if need be. I expect you to live with roommates, for quite a few years. You and the roommates probably won't find jobs that pay enough to get your own places. Unless you marry a millionaire, frugality will be the trend: home cooking instead of so much dining out; house parties instead of going out; shopping for 'new' stuff at estate sales. You may have to learn to make your own coffee.
Friendship. In hard times, it takes on a new meaning. You guys have always used Facebook in a positive way, to keep in touch with people you'd otherwise lose track of, and that's good. Some of those contacts from way back may help you find a job or start a business. These connections will work both ways. Where once charities might call asking for donations, in Obama World people you actually know may be contacting you to ask for help getting a job or a few bucks to get by.
Government. your new best pal. Right now, you can wander the USA all day without running into a person in military uniform or a government office more threatening than the Post Office. That may change. Recently, the federal government has been issuing regulations at the rate of 68 per day, controlling healthcare, food, energy, education, law enforcement, travel and transportation, commerce, communications, the environment et cetera. Don't expect its attention to detail to stop anytime soon. ObamaCare calls for creation of 159 new agencies or programs. On the down side, the feds are apt to do really annoying things like tax or censor the Internet, and regulation overall prevents job creation. On the up side, all those agencies need staff, and if you get truly desperate for employment, you may find yourself working for one. I hope not.
Privacy. an evolving concept in Obama World. While U.S. citizens still have First Amendment rights in general, they may be limited in the workplace. Corporate and governmental employers punish political incorrectness. This girl lost her job for making a private posting about Obama on her Facebook page. That case may be an extreme example, but there's definitely a trend for large employers to monitor the personal lives of employees and demand conformity. Don't be surprised if your adult workplace prohibits wearing things like a cross or a flag pin, and demands per HR policy that employees not discuss politics or religion at work. As soon as you stop being a student, you will need to increase privacy on your Facebook page, or switch to social media with better privacy. PC behavior should be a no-brainer for you, after going to such a liberal college.
Gift-giving. Every Christmas for the past few years we have bought your grandparents another year of Internet service. That may sound like a boring gift, but I think that sort of thing is a sign of the times. They planned prudently for retirement but like many other people who invested in 'safe' Treasury-backed funds, the zero interest-rate policy of recent years has deprived them of most of their income. Our practical Santa gift is worth much more to them than another sweater. Your father and I hope we never become dependent on you guys, but in Obama World, everything seems to be upside down.
If you got the gene for optimism, you didn't get it from me.