For, after all, there is no inherent stop-mechanism in such giveaway proposals. Why only $5,000 per baby? Why not $10,000? Only (some) voters' inherent common sense prevents us from falling for some such cockeyed scheme every year. There is certainly no shortage of thoughtless politicians like Clinton ready to make such superficially popular proposals, quite regardless of their true consequences.
And don't overlook the enormous demagogic appeal of any suggestion for benefiting "our children" -- or the political dangers of opposing one. We are psychologically hardwired to favor proposals that seem to benefit children, and it takes real backbone for a politician to challenge one. (What's the matter with you -- are you against children?)
Still, I will confess to being a little surprised that such a seasoned politician as Hillary Clinton, even in the midst of casual remarks to a caucus of black political leaders, would let herself get carried away to the extent of floating such an ill-considered idea. If she ever becomes president, and is overcome with similar gaseous plans for the public weal, there will presumably be plenty of smart advisers around the White House ready to scotch them before they can hit the air waves or the headlines. But it is unsettling, to say the least, to think that Madam President might need that sort of steadying influence.
William Rusher is a Distinguished Fellow of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy and author of How to Win Arguments .
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