At a recent Congressional Black Caucus presidential candidate forum Hillary Clinton upped the stakes for pandering to potential voters. She proposed a $5,000 “baby bond” for every child born in America. This account would grow over time and serve as a nest egg for college or as a down payment on a first home.
I am sure Senator Clinton thought this would be just another example of her innovative thinking; further proof of just home much she cares about children and families. Who wouldn’t want a $5,000 bond to give their children a financial foundation for the future?
But the reaction was less than positive. Republicans jumped on it as just another example of Hillary’s liberal big spending habits noting that she has proposed on the order of $724 billion in new spending in her various proposals.
But it wasn’t just her political opponents who ridiculed the idea. $5,000 multiplied by the 4 million children born each year means outrageous costs. And that doesn’t even take into account the cost of the government management of the program. Not surprisingly, voters and reporters alike were skeptical. The Chicago Tribune labeled it “Clinton’s Baby Boondoggle.”
In the face of all of this criticism Hillary soon dropped the baby bond idea, but she picked up where she left off. Hillary switched to a proposal to give targeted individuals a $1000 refundable tax credit to set up a 401(k) type retirement account.
Now, in typical Hillary fashion, she is attempting to have it both ways when it comes to retirement security. Seeking to provide a benefit to the politically important middle class she is more than willing to use the private sector to her benefit. A completely government funded and controlled program would simply be too expensive, so she offers a targeted tax credit and piggybacks off the very benefits of the market that she criticized President Bush for offering.
This dynamic reveals the tension at the heart of Hillary’s tightly scripted campaign. Her natural tendency is to propose government-controlled programs to fix any and all social ills. She wants to appeal to the liberal base of her party while at the same time offering targeted programs to key voting groups. The baby bond was just such an attempt but it backfired.
In a moment of candor, Hillary even admitted this. In an interview with the Boston Globe she said: “I have a million ideas. The country can’t afford them all.”
What the country really can’t afford is Hillary Clinton in the White House.