According to the Associated Press reports, Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton suggested, during a forum hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus, that every child born in the United States should get a $5,000 "baby bond" from the government to help pay for future costs of college or buying a home.
First, this appears to have been an off-the-cuff comment because the Clinton campaign had no numbers on the estimated cost or potential funding sources. But that didn't stop others from warmly embracing the idea.
Ohio Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D - OH 11th District) thought it was a "wonderful idea." She went on to explain that "every child born in the United States today owes $27,000 on the national debt, why not let them come get $5,000 to grow until they're 18?"
Yes, this is what passes for intelligence in Congress. It's anti-logic. You're born owing $27,000 toward the national debt so let's just 'borrow' more money and give it to you, ignoring the idea that you might be getting $5,000 now, but that $5,000 just gets added to the $27,000 you already owe. The problem is that so many have such little understanding of how this works, that they'll think they're getting a 'reduction' of some sort in the debt. While it's sad that the public will misunderstand this, it's atrocious that our elected representatives are perpetuating the anti-logic of the idea - not to mention the media which failed to understand the implications of the comment and clarify it further.
And then there is the concept in general. Nowhere does the Constitution give Congress the authority to take from people in general in order to give a $5,000 handout to babies born in the U.S. But then, constitutional restrictions on authority went down the drain quite some time ago.
Even if this were constitutional, there are a host of unintended consequences and questions which I'm sure weren't thought through.
For instance, what about couples who cannot have children. They'll be paying taxes which will be spent on other peoples' kids...I'm sure there's some sort of discrimination here based upon their inability to have children. After all, we can't discriminate against those who, through no fault of their own, don't have kids. So that means some sort of equal payment to them, as well.
And what about the abortion lobby? If you start paying people who have kids (in this case, in the form of a bond for the baby), you might have less abortions. Talk about unintended consequences.
And if the parent is on public assistance, does the 'baby bond' encourage more children who are then raised in, what has become for many (but not all), a 'welfare mentality' of entitlement?
What if a child is given up for adoption? Does the 'baby bond' go with the kid or stay under control of the parents? Logic says it'd go with the child, but this being the government, anything is possible and anti-logic is more common.
However, knowing the penchant of government to control, I anticipate such a program being more like Social Security. We'll just create an account in your name, dear baby, and when you're 18, the money will be there for you. Yes, we'll put it in a lock box that can never be touched. Yeah - right - we've seen how well THAT works...
Then there is the concept which led to the idea...Clinton said such a program will "help Americans get back to the tradition of savings that she remembers as a child." As Glenn Beck says, get out the duck tape so your head doesn't explode....
Giving people money doesn't help them learn how to save. All it does is teach them that the government will give them something for nothing - failing to recognize that someone - meaning you and me and even the recipients - will always end up paying the bill. Government has only what it takes from each of us ... but that never stopped them from being so generous with other people's money.
The best way to teach the need for savings - and so many other lessons - is to give individuals the freedom to fail. It was Henry Ford who said, "Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently." It's just that individual responsibility contradicts so much of what government is about, further contributing to the anti-logic we see so much of today.