Memo to Mrs. Clinton: Why Not Baby Bonds When Life Begins?
By Deacon Keith Fournier
© Third Millennium, LLC
Democratic front-runner Mrs. Hilary Clinton offered a public policy “trial balloon” recently while addressing the Congressional Black Caucus. She suggested the idea of giving $5,000 to every child born in America. Her proposed use of the bond was to help to ensure College tuition funding for every American child. "I like the idea of giving every baby born in America a $5,000 account that will grow over time, so when that young person turns 18, if they have finished high school, they will be able to access it to go to college," she said.
The response to this proposal came swiftly. Sadly, very few of the negative responses addressed the root inequity, the time deadline for qualification. I will address that question in this article. Instead, they questioned the propriety of having the Federal Government enact such a new entitlement program. In response, the Clinton campaign followed the pattern of politics, utilizing a spin machine to deal with the reactions. Her aides and surrogates pointed out that she had not made a concrete proposal as to how such a baby bond program would be financed.
This is not the first time that the party which Mrs. Clinton leads has proposed the idea of treating children, (though only those outside of the womb), as our first neighbors through trying to expand their ability to participate in the economy. Back during the heated debate concerning proposals to personalize Social Security (called “privatization” by most opponents in an effort to make it sound selfish), which reached a crescendo at the beginning of the second term of the Bush administration, some in the Democratic party responded to the debate by suggesting the setting up personal accounts for newborns.
In my opinion this recent “baby bond” proposal deserves serious discussion. I speak particularly to my fellow Christians on this matter. To quickly dismiss the idea, mouthing the trite jingoistic objections such as “nanny state”, borrowed from the right, will not suffice. Oh, please understand, I am not a fan of big government. I am well aware of its tendency toward inefficiency and waste, as well as the potential for abuse by those in control. History is replete with the abuse of power at the hands of regimes given centralized unchecked power, both “left and “right”. As a Catholic Christian, I prefer the application of the social ordering principle found within Christian social teaching called subsidiarity.
The principle of subsidiarity essentially asserts that government is “good”, in a two fold sense; when it is closest to those being governed and when it reflects what is truly good, in other words, what is moral. This principle asserts much more than “federalism”, a rather good application of the first part of the two fold idea which was set forth by the American founders. However, subsidiarity precedes “federalism” in the realm of political principles and Christians need to re-educate themselves on the social teaching of the Church in order to truly contribute to the broader discussion of what constitutes “good” government. There is room for disagreement over how this principle applies to specific policy proposals such as this “baby bond” notion. Such applications in the making of public policy and legislation require the use of prudential judgment.
I assert that what should concern Christians, indeed all people of good will, more than all of the valid issues which might arise over increasing the role of the federal government, is the issue of the threshold of qualification. The proposal makes “birth” the threshold for receiving this bond. Being born in America is increasingly difficult in the aftermath of the horrid “legalization” of abortion, for any reason, at any time, occasioned by the Roe v Wade decision. Arguably, a premature child, such as the one born just this past year at twenty one weeks old who is flourishing would qualify. However, a baby aborted by choice at eight months old would not.
In essence then, in the current abortion on demand culture, the child really has no choice at all. Once again, her right to life and her freedom to be born is denied. This is the fundamental injustice which is never addressed by so many of the Democratic (and increasingly Republican) candidates. Every child in the first home of the whole human race, their mothers’ womb, is currently treated as property to be disposed of at will. This is a new form of slavery. It is precisely why I had to leave the Democratic Party after they silenced the last true champion of all the poor, Governor Bob Casey, at their convention because he called his party to hear the cry of those whom Blessed Teresa of Calcutta rightly called, the “poorest of the poor”, children in the womb. They have no voice but ours.
So Mrs. Clinton, I will not mock your proposal. I believe you are sincere in your concern for children and their future. I just believe that you have been blinded by the lie which has deceived your once proud political party. Medical science confirms what our hearts have known all along, the child in the womb is our neighbor. Her right to join our National family has been usurped by a fundamental injustice. I propose that you change the threshold of eligibility from birth to conception, which is where we all know that human life begins.
Memo to Mrs. Clinton: Why Not Baby Bonds When Life Begins?
http://www.catholic.org VA, US
Deacon Keith Fournier - Deacon, 757 546-9580
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