Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton not too long ago proposed a $5,000 "baby bonus" for all newborns to help them have a start on a college fund or a house down payment. Of course, her idea was ridiculed and has long since evaporated. Now an Australian medical expert has proposed a $5,000 baby penalty to help pay for the environmental damage that an increased population can bring.
So are both plans crazy or, if not, which idea sounds reasonable?
Here's some background that should be obvious. Sen. Clinton is running for president you might have heard. And during a campaign, it has become custom to promise anything and everything in search of votes. Offer $5,000 for having a baby and some people will vote for you. Of course, when it comes to details, Ms. Clinton is much more vague. All she's interested in is that $5,000 promise and just how many votes it might generate.
On the other side of the spectrum comes Australian Barry Walters who says that more people mean more pollution - he even has a formula - and so he wants families to pay for bringing more "polluters" onto this good earth. Dr. Walters, by the way, is not running for office.
Dr. Walters' plan wouldn't kick in until a couple has two children. The "penalty" comes along with numbers three and beyond. One opponent of his idea said that Walters should be fined for expelling "hot air" with his idea. One supporter wondered why we talk in whispers when it comes to population control. You decide.
I think you have to consider the source of these two radically different ideas. Dr. Walters is an environmental expert and knows more about carbon dioxide emissions than most of us. At the same time, Hillary Clinton is stumping for votes. She knows more about hot air than most of us. So it's easy to understand why each holds such different opinions.
Let me go way out on a limb here and make a prediction. Neither idea stands even a remote chance of success. And only because both are dumb ideas tailored for a specific purpose.
Maybe Hillary's "baby bonus" kids can all move to Australia and use the money to pay Dr. Walters' "baby fines." That way everyone wins! Right?