The Spectacle Blog

Hillary’s Baby Bucks

By on 9.28.07 | 11:59AM

I just got back from Hillary Clinton's panderfest at the the Congressional Black Caucus's Annual Legislative Conference. She took questions from audience members on topics such as voter suppression, economic justice, and "environmental racism" (i.e. when environmental policies disproportionately harm blacks).

But the most alarming point was when she said, "I like the idea of giving every baby born in America a $5,000 account that will grow over time so that when that young person turns 18, if they have finished high school they will be able to access it to go to college, or maybe they will be able to put a down payment on their first home, or go into business."

She later referred to the proposal as "baby bonds."

This would represent a startling expansion of the role of government, not only in terms of the cost in dollars, but in the way it would literally instill dependency on the state in every American from the moment of birth.

Then later, when criticizing the idea of Social Security private accounts, she said, "Investing your future in the stock market is not a great return for everybody at every point in history." This statement not only reveals her contempt for the capitalist system, but it is utterly inaccurate.

These numbers need updating, but this basic idea that I conveyed in an article I wrote during the Social Security debate still holds:

Critics cite the U.S. stock market's performance in the early part of this decade as evidence of the risks associated with personal accounts. It is true that if you invested in the broader market five years ago, before the Internet bubble burst and corporate scandals shook Wall Street, you would have lost money. That is why it would be less advisable for a 60-year-old to be heavily concentrated in stocks.

But over, say, a 40-year time frame, short-term market fluctuations are rendered irrelevant. Since 1965, the Standard and Poor's 500 Index has enjoyed average annual returns, including dividends, of nearly 12 percent. And this is a 40-year period that included Vietnam, Watergate, two oil crises, two wars in Iraq, the Sept. 11 attacks, five recessions and seven bear markets.


Investing in private enterprise is not some risky Republican scheme, it's the American way.

Let me just say that I've officially reached my breaking point with conservative commentators fawning over Hillary Clinton for how polished she is, how great she is doing in the debates, and how formidable of a candidate she will be. While it's important to acknowledge her political skills, I think at this stage conservatives need to be focusing on her draconian measures to augment the size of the state to the point at which it is involved in every aspect of our lives, from birth to death.

UPDATE: I did some quick math. There were 4,115,590 births in 2004, according to the most recent data I could find from the National Center for Health Statistics. If Hillary were to give each of those babies $5,000, it would represent $20.6 billion in new annual spending. To put that in perspective, that is nearly equivelent to to the budget of the entire Department of Justice, which was $23.4 billion in 2006.

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