The year is 2016. And this is what Change has wrought.
Cars are restricted in size and must meet stringent emissions and fuel consumption regulations. 40% of all cars are required to be electric, and are frequently found by the side of the road because of battery issues. We're still getting used to electric cars and how long they take to charge.
Fuel prices are triple what they were just a few years ago, thanks to drilling prohibitions and massive, new taxes. Oil drilling is banned in the United States, and rigs sit idle atop the nation's vast treasure trove of oil and natural gas. This is the price we must pay in order to prevent global warming.
Because of high auto and energy costs, mass transit is the only option available to many citizens. In cities, electric subway cars are packed full from early morning to late at night.
Government officials, however, are given the option of receiving free vehicles at taxpayer expense. All cars must be painted white, because other colors of paint can result in the release of excess greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.
Tax policies encourage citizens to live in carefully planned housing complexes, high-rise condos and apartments, which consume less of the country's precious energy supplies.
"Smart-grid" technologies meter energy usage down to the individual family, pricing it by time-of-day and number of persons in the household. Power can be cut off to a household if government limits are exceeded. Families with elderly or special needs members, however, can petition the federal government for extra energy credits. Blackouts and brownouts, however, are typical during the summers because most coal-burning was regulated out of existence by the EPA.
All lighting systems in residential housing units are required to use compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). These lamps, though they contain toxic levels of mercury, help reduce energy consumption and help prevent global warming.
Each housing unit must use a special, water-saving sink-toilet. They recapture the sink's waste water into the toilet tank because fresh water is increasingly expensive.
Because of environmental regulations and government mandates, access to clean water is restricted. Before water is ever tapped for human consumption, detailed reviews -- often lasting many years -- are required to assess the impact on every possible animal species.
As for immigration policy, we have truly become an enlightened country. Open borders and streamlined paths to full citizenship now ensure a lasting Democrat majority.
It is true that open borders have resulted in various man-made disasters. For example, the tragic series of suicide bombings we endured at Texas amusement parks last year. But those setbacks are a small price to pay so that we can be recognized as citizens of the world.
It's also true that jobs are scarce, but if you can find one you will have a great advantage. When you are hired, you will automatically become a member of a union, which will protect your rights, secure your retirement benefits, set your pay, prescribe career advancement, and take care of negotiating all of the details with corporate bosses.
As for schools, all teachers are unionized, of course, which ensures that children are taught consistently, with government-approved materials. Home-schooling was outlawed in 2012 to give children the opportunity to learn in government-approved environments.
It's true that union dues are a flat 5% of gross income, but that's a pittance compared to federal, state and local taxes, which add up to 60% for most of us.
Government workers and college professors only pay 40% in taxes in recognition of their sacrifices for the public good. Nearly half of all workers are employed by government at the federal, state or local levels.
Health care is free, if you can find a general practitioner. If referred to a specialist, your wait may be six months or longer. You can elect to fly abroad for treatment if you can't wait, but since health care is free in the U.S. (and private doctors are banned), most elect to wait.
Retirees have a very high quality of life. However, due to rules prescribed by the Federal Health Board, if you are over 72 years of age, you may not receive treatment for cancer, heart disease and other maladies because those services are reserved for younger, healthier patients. Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Rahm's brother, proscribed this in his "whole life" mandate for cost-containment reasons.
It's true that many folks seem poorer, have less job opportunities, aren't as happy or as healthy, are less educated, and -- I'll say it -- less free.
But that's what we voted for when we voted for change.
We were voting for an ideal, a Utopia, a vision of equality. And now that we're entering Barack Obama's fourth term in office, many would say we've achieved it.