Saturday, September 29, 2007

Billion Dollar Babies

We've all heard the phrase "for the children" on the political campaign so many times it's become a running gag. But yesterday, Hillary Clinton announced that if she's elected, she would like to give each newborn a $5000 "baby bond" to help with college or the purchase of a home. At a forum hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus, Hillary announced her idea, saying the following:

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 make that downpayment on their first home.

I know this isn't the case with all 18 year olds, but I remember the way I was when I was 18 and just out of high school. If you would have given me access to the kind of money from a $5000 bond that had accrued interest over the 18 years of my life, I would have blown at least some of it on stupid stuff, and I was pretty responsible at that age. Given today's breed of self-centered me-monkeys, I guarantee most would take that money and use it for just about everything but college or a downpayment on a home. And while we're on the subject, can you imagine an 18 year old with a house? That would the worst idea since "Gigli."

As you might expect, Hillary didn't offer estimates on how much this idea would cost and even her campaign said it wasn't a firm policy position, just an idea being considered. That's because at this stage in the campaign, nobody's looking for solid numbers and I guess the politicians making these pie-in-the-sky proposals don't figure there's anybody paying attention to these details because to do so would signal a complete lack of a life.

Of course, they didn't count on me.

When it comes to programs like this, I pay close attention because it's going to cost me money ultimately. And when you promise something this big, I'm going to figure out these things. I will warn you ahead of time that this next section deals with a lot of math, but it's with a purpose, so if you hate math, stick with me.

According to the most recent estimates I could find, the current birth rate is approximately 14.16 births per 1000 people. Out of an American population of approximately 301,139,947, that equals 4,264,141 babies. We also need to factor in an estimated infant mortality rate of 6.37 deaths per 1000 live births, or approximately 27,162 deaths. Taking that away from the 4,264,141, we get a grand total of 4,236,979 babies eligible for Hillary's idea. Granted, I'm not sure the infant mortality rate factors the number of abortions performed, but let's say for the purposes of this sketch that it doesn't.

Taking 4,236,979 times $5000, we get...drumroll please...$21,184,895,000. For the math challenged out there, that's over $21 billion dollars, and that's annually. Furthermore, since it's a federal bond, it will accrue interest, making that amount go even higher after just one year. And after that first year, another group of babies eligibile for Hillary's idea will be added, meaning we spend another $21 billion if conditions remain the same, which most likely they won't.

And who gets to pay for this? That would be you and me, kids.

If that isn't a reason to do whatever you can to ensure Hillary doesn't see the inside of the White House again unless she's invited at behest of the President or as a tour guide, I don't know what is.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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