Aaliyah and Kainan Wright didn’t expect to be able to help their children financially into adulthood. Now a Washington, D.C., program could give the couple’s newborn—and many others—an infusion just when they need it. But some folks are asking, “At what cost?”
The Wrights have steady jobs. She’s a case worker; he’s a barber. Together, they make around $70,000 per year. But with $80,000 in college loan debt hanging over them, the couple’s financial future seemed uncertain.
Now their daughter will qualify for a District of Columbia program known as “Baby Bonds.”
These bonds—more accurately called government trust funds—are designed to boost finances in adulthood for children in the poorest families. The program is open to families on Medicaid making less than three times the federal poverty limit, or about $83,250 for a family of four.
“One generation would create a dramatic change,” says New Jersey Senator Cory Booker.
Booker’s concept of a national baby bonds program has moved from fringe idea to on-the-ground policy due to the attention on poverty that occurred during the pandemic. To fund his plan, Booker proposed tax hikes for wealthy persons.
Many Christians balk at the idea of allowing government to control wealth. After all, God commends cheerful and voluntary giving. (2 Corinthians 9:7-9) But God-given impulses to help others shouldn’t be quashed—even when humans abuse the ideals of generosity and kindness.
Politicians nationwide are still tinkering with baby bonds strategies. Various state legislatures have suggested different models. Debates continue on how to determine who should receive funds.
At age 18, each child in D.C.’s baby bonds program would receive $25,000 for higher education, a business investment, or a house down payment. Proponents hope the infusion might end the generations-long poverty cycles of some poor families—and narrow the gap between the wealthy and the poor.
Connecticut treasurer Shawn Wooden is confident that D.C.’s program will lead to real-time behavioral changes in planning, academics, and ambition.
“How much is enough to inspire a kid and their [sic] family to think about the future?” he says. “There is a high value that should be placed on hope.”
Still, the program has many critics. Some say baby bonds could actually discourage personal savings. Others point to the government’s dismal track record for managing funds. (They offer Social Security as an example.)
What’s more, the price tag for baby bonds is daunting. D.C.’s plan alone will cost around $8 million per year in public resources just to fund the bonds a little at a time.
Why? Christians know about unmerited favor and hope. Jesus gave His life that we might have abundant life (John 10:10) to enjoy Christ’s presence, the true hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)
Is this going to cause more
Is this going to cause more problems than it solves. It’s like free money.
I'm a little conflicted by this. Jack, I see your point of view.
Jack, Yeah I see what you mean. And besides, its money that the US doesn't even have. There are goods and bads to this.