Forget baby showers. There's a proposal to give every newborn in the United States a "Baby Bond" account with somewhere between $500 to $50,000 in cash. Neither the kids nor their parents would be able to touch the money until the child turned 18. Then the young adult could spend the trust fund on attending college, buying a home or starting a business.
The whole point of Baby Bonds would be to dramatically lessen wealth inequality in the United States, according to the economists who came up with the idea, Darrick Hamilton of the New School and William Darity of Duke University.
"The key ingredient of how successful you will be in America is how wealthy your family is," Hamilton says. Baby Bonds are one way to change that, he argues. He presented the idea at the American Economic Association conference in Philadelphia this weekend.
Under the proposal, kids of incredibly rich parents such as Bill and Melinda Gates or Beyoncé and Jay-Z would get the lowest amount, $500, while babies born into extremely poor families would get the highest amount, $50,000. There would be a sliding scale to determine how much each baby would received based on the parents' wealth. A typical middle-class baby would receive around $20,000.
While there are a number of criticisms about Baby Bonds, especially how to pay for them, presidents and prime ministers around the world are trying to figure out ways to reduce inequality.
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