Sen. Clinton proposed awarding every newborn American with a $5,000 bond that could be invested and allowed to grow to a sum that could be redeemed for educational or home buying needs when they reached adulthood. It became a point of widespread criticism for the Senator for New York, even among those who are politically sympathetic. The Daily News quotes a professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University saying "Oh, what a blunder, big time." Republicans piled on, seeking to paint Clinton as a traditional tax-and-spend Democrat. With approximately four million Americans born every year, Clinton's plan could cost upwards of $20 billion annually.
The mention of a baby bond program didn't appear to be a specific policy proposal by Clinton. She said she liked the idea of such a program during an address to a Congressional Black Caucus forum this week. She was apparently referring to a proposal that appeared in Time magazine earlier this month written by Time's managing editor Richard Stengel. It was one prong of a collection of ideas to encourage national service and invest in the youth of the country. Stengel's plan calls for the investment of $5,000 in private accounts that could be collected by people between 18 and 25, contingent on the funds being put forward to education or other economically positive uses and the completion of a year of voluntary service. Yesterday, Time's Swampland blog noted that Sen. Clinton had proposed a similar plan that would have been limited to $1,000 to the Democratic Leadership Council.
Newsday wrote that Clinton's support of such an idea occurred during an address to black leaders at a time when she is looking to solidify a lead among minority voters while battling Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination in 2008. Rudy Giuliani said that the endorsement of baby bonds was typical of Clinton's politics and accused the Senator of assuming voters were stupid.