Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday that every child born in the United States should get a $5,000 "baby bond" from the government to help pay for future costs of college or buying a home. – Associated Press September 28, 2007
Senator Barack Obama quickly moved to one-up Sen. Hillary Clinton by suggesting that every American family be guaranteed an American-made car in their garage. His suggestions come a week after Clinton proposed giving every child a $5,000 “baby bond” at birth to help pay for college or buy a first home.
“It’s a tragedy that many Americans have to ride the bus or have to settle for a Toyota,” the Senator said. “Cars are a sign of hope. My proposal allows for all families to have an American-made car, which will bring hope to millions of Americans that have none.” His remarks received a warm reception in Detroit where domestic automakers find sales mired in slumps.
“This is a great way for us to stay ahead of the Germans and Japanese,” said one GM executive who didn’t want to be identified. “If every family has at least one of our cars, we no longer have to innovate or provide products people want. We might even be able to unload all those ’07 Pontiacs that no one wants.”
Aides close to John Edwards said he would release a plan next week that would guarantee every American a $40,000-a-year job—part of his broad strategy to eliminate poverty.
Even Republicans are starting to mull over things they can promise voters in exchange for their support next November.
“The one thing I learned as Governor of Massachusetts is that if the government can guarantee something then people line up with their hands out,” said Mitt Romney as he shook hands with people in a New Hampshire diner. “No one complained when I forced them to have health insurance. I don’t think people in California or Georgia would complain either. Maybe health insurance is what I can give people.”
The governor refused to commit to any proposal however and said he would talk to his campaign advisors about what people want most.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani proposed giving every American a cell phone so they could keep in touch with those they love.
“It’s important that people be given the opportunity to be as obnoxious as the average New Yorker,” he said. “How would people—” The mayor stopped in mid-sentence to take a cell phone call from his wife, Judith. “I’m talking to a reporter,” he gushed to his wife. “Would you like to say hello?”
Back on the campaign trail, Obama seemed confident that his offer would be more attractive to voters than what the other candidates had to offer.
“I never realized how easy it is to buy votes when you’re using other people’s money,” Obama said on his way to a fundraiser in Iowa. “I think when I run for reelection in 2012, I’ll promise every American a house. Not just any house but at least a five bedroom, environmentally friendly house with a big enough garage to park their American made car.”
No candidate has detailed how they’d pay for their proposals but aides told reporters that Congress has little problem spending money.
“Oh, they’ll just raise taxes or make a future generation of Americans pay for it,” said one congressional aide as he hurried down the halls of the Capitol building. “That’s standard operating procedure around here.”