Baby Bonds

Apparently a major presidential candidate is backing the “baby bond” concept (via Matthew Yglesias), wherein children are given $5000 (or some amount) at birth, which would accumulate interest until they were 18. The idea here is to build a culture of saving, to spread the benefits of capital ownership, and to let teenagers buy a really sweet ride when they go off to college.

I’m in favor of this policy, without regard to its merits, because it gives me a chance to trot out once again one of my favorite quotations of all time, from Samuel Butler’s The Way of All Flesh:

Why should the generations overlap one another at all? Why cannot we be buried as eggs in neat little cells with ten or twenty thousand pounds each wrapped round us in Bank of England notes, and wake up, as the sphex wasp does, to find that its papa and mamma have not only left ample provision at its elbow, but have been eaten by sparrows some weeks before it began to live consciously on its own account?

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