Pretty much everyone, including those of us who don't think she would be the best Democratic nominee, are pretty impressed with how tight a campaign Hillary Clinton's run. MSNBC's first read, The New York Times, and Larry Sabato, however, see a hint of weakness:
Her $5,000 “baby bonds” proposal may have given fodder to Republicans. “The baby bonds proposal is one of the few mistakes Hillary Clinton has made in her campaign,” said University of Virginia Professor Larry Sabato per the New York Times. ‘Should Clinton become the Democratic nominee, she may have handed a powerful issue to the Republican candidate.”
But of course any proposal from a Democrat is going to be "fodder" for Republicans. The idea deserves to be considered on its merits. Nick Beaudrot, baby bonds fan and John Edwards fan, notes that his idol "has said good things about these sorts of plans before." Tony Blair and Gordon Brown pioneered a similar policy in the United Kingdom several years ago. Ray Boshara at the New America Foundation is also a longtime advocate of these measures, and it goes even further back to Bruce Ackerman and Anne Alstott's book, The Stakeholder Society.
One of the main policies that made the United States we know and love was the Homestead Act of the 19th century. The question this was intended to address was how to dispose of the vast land mass that the country was in the process of stealing from its native inhabitants. One way to do this would have been to auction it off to the highest bidder. Wealthy investors would have bought large estates and hired overseers and tenants to farm the land while living back home in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, wherever. Instead, the congress guaranteed a small farm to anyone willing to move west and live and work on the land, building a property owning democracy of smallholders wherein ownership of the means of production (viz. land) was widely distributed.
Baby bonds could and should be a step toward creating a 21st century version of a society lack that -- one in which every citizen who works hard and obeys the law gets to share in the prosperity that's created by everyone's labor together.
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