It would be expensive — about $20 billion a year — and Clinton offered no way to pay for it. Absent a funding source, the cost would simply be piled on to the existing federal budget deficit, which is another way of saying it would be paid for by future taxpayers.
If a President Clinton were to pursue the idea, citizens might notice another shortcoming: The baby bond wouldn’t go very far toward paying for college. Assuming it earns 5 percent interest, it would add up to only about $13,000 18 years later. That’s barely enough to cover a year’s expenses at a typical public university even today. So it’s safe to bet that in the legislative process, the amount of the original payment — and the ultimate cost — would be bid up considerably. If $5,000 is good, wouldn’t $10,000 be twice as good?
Finally, the spot-on coup de grâce:
But this risk that doesn’t seem to worry Clinton, who knows that handing out goodies is a time-tested way to ingratiate yourself with voters. Her suggestion brings to mind the comment of the 19th Century French economist Frederic Bastiat: "The state is the great fiction by which everybody seeks to live at the expense of everybody else." In the end, as the purported beneficiaries of her proposal would eventually find out to their sorrow, nothing comes for free.