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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Wildcard

    Money in the bank – at birth

    At a speech last week sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton proposed issuing every child born in the United States a $5,000 “”baby bond.”” The program would give “”every baby born in America a $5,000 account that will grow over time,”” to be used to pay for college or as part of a down payment on a home. Clinton gave no details of the plan’s implementation, how the scheme would be funded or how much it might cost, although about four million babies are born each year in the U.S.

    Clinton’s “”baby bond”” proposal is a small but important step toward bringing about equality of opportunity in America.

    Americans have historically placed great value in the idea that with enough hard work and dedication, anyone can become successful. We want to live in a country where every person has the opportunity to make something of their life, but this dream has always been hindered by economic inequalities, racism, sexism and regional differences.

    If we are truly dedicated to the ideals of democracy, then we must break down those barriers that hinder social and economic mobility. Most of us have personally felt the effects of rising tuition costs. Most of us know someone who is unable to attend college, not because they’re lazy or dumb or undeserving but simply because they cannot afford it. This is an injustice, and it’s good to see a plan presented that might improve our education system.

    This program may cost taxpayers a lot of money for the first 18 years, but it will pay for itself by encouraging savings and giving more people the opportunity to attend college. Higher education means better skills and more productivity, and the end result is a wealthier country for us all.

    -Eric Moll is a sophomore majoring in creative writing and environmental science

    Clinton’s idea sounds benign and optimistic at the outset, which is perhaps its most dangerous characteristic – who wouldn’t want every kid in the U.S. to be able to afford college? But there are few 18-year-olds who could be trusted not to blow at least some of their free money on American Apparel and trips to Rocky Point. Besides – college, as we’re all too keenly aware, costs a lot more than five grand; even the most pennypinching student would have a hard time paying for more than a year’s tuition, at best, without additional funds.

    And whether or not she realizes it, Clinton’s plan is actually a natalist one. It lures Americans into believing that they’ll no longer need to save to put their kids through college, which will encourage them to reproduce with little, if any, forethought – not a good idea in an already overpopulated world.

    This well-intentioned plan for reducing the economic burden of college is ultimately bound to result in a generation filled with false hope, whose government gave them just enough assistance to catch a glimpse of what could have been, before the money dried up and left them to fend for themselves.

    -Alyson Hill is a senior majoring in classics, German studies and history

    Dreaming big is something everybody does – even Hillary Clinton. Although the actual financing structure of her “”baby bonds”” has not been determined, skeptics are sharpening their claws. To compound financial worry, politicians will also have to consider the huge bureaucracy that would be involved in managing these individual accounts.

    Considering that her proposal is in its infancy, the positive implications are very exciting. But Clinton’s critics think that this is an outlandish idea that would more than likely lead to a dead end. This type of response is only typical considering that those quick to criticize her usually lack an ability to see nuance and understanding.

    What Hillary understands – and what others would rather not acknowledge – is that people are all not born equal. Attesting to that notion, an Oct. 6, 2005 op-ed in The New York Times by columnist David Brooks notes: “”(L)ife prospects are widely unequal for children coming from families in different income brackets. As would be expected, children from lower-income families are much less likely to get a college degree than children from higher-income families.””

    Yeah, elections are rolling around the corner and politicians are pulling out all of the stops to get your vote. Do we genuinely think that she can make this actually happen? Who knows – though the U.K. unsuccessfully tried to set up a similar program. Whether or not we think “”baby bonds”” will actually come to fruition, it never hurts to think that we can invest in our children.

    -Jeremiah Simmons is a second-year public health graduate student

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