Friday, September 28, 2007

Sen. Clinton Proposes Grants for Individual Education Accounts

Memorial of St. Wenceslaus
Memorial of Lawrence Ruiz and Companions

Although she doesn't quite call them that. At a forum hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's proposal today that every one of the estimated 4 million children per year born in the United States should receive a $5,000 "baby bond" from the government to help pay for future costs of college, or buying a first home, was met with enthusiastic applause. Ostensibly, this program, in addition to helping young adults, would strengthen the economby by promoting the lost art of saving in the middle and lower classes.

Riddle me this. Set aside the subsidiarity concerns that arise despite its clear intentions for solidarity. Set aside the obvious questions about how to fund another $20 billion per year program, how dubious the benefit claims to the economy are, or whether this would exacerbate the illegal immigration/border security issue. It is not clear how this differs materially from a combination of two ideas for social security reform that have not gained any traction (particularly with the left) in the last decade, individual retirement accounts and the (notorious) lock box. If we are to presume this is a good idea for early adult life, then why should it be a bad approach for retirement?

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