The Corner

Re: Baby Bonds

Another email, from someone else:

I have no problem with criticism of Hillary Clinton’s $5000 Baby Bond proposal/pander. However, something nags at me about the criticism.

Several years ago, a bipartisan congress passed a $1000 child credit bill, which gives a $1000 tax credit every year from birth to 17. Doesn’t this constitute a $17,000 Baby Bond? Hillary’s money comes up front, is only worth five years worth of the tax credit, and comes in the form of a bond instead of a cash rebate. None of these differences strikes me as meaningful from an economics standpoint.

The tax credit seems to enjoy wide support as a family values initiative. How is the Baby Bond any different?

I wasn’t criticizing Clinton’s idea so much as passing along someone else’s suggested improvement of it. I think you’re right to say that her idea shares some principles in common with the child credit (although I’d prefer parents to get the money rather than eighteen-year-olds, and thus prefer the credit to her idea). Keep in mind, though, that I’m someone who supports a $5,000/year tax credit for children.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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