Friday, October 05, 2007

Letters to the Editor...Who's Responsible?

This one is because of a mini-flap regarding a comment made, rather off-handedly, by Senator Clinton recently.

The original moment: Time magazine carried a story about national service which included this proposal: 1. Create a National-Service Baby Bond EVERY TIME AN AMERICAN BABY IS BORN, THE Federal Government would invest $5,000 in that child's name in a 529-type fund--the kind many Americans are already using for college savings.

The Clinton moment: At a forum hosted by The Congressional Black Caucus, Senator Clinton commented about the proposal: "I like the idea of giving every baby born in America a $5,000 account that will grow over time, so that when that young person turns 18 if they have finished high school they will be able to access it to go to college or maybe they will be able to make that downpayment on their first home."

That sounds like an idea just about anyone could "like." It would be a wonderful thing to do, if it were feasible. The Clinton campaign reminded people later that her comment did not equal commitment to the proposal.

The fact that Mrs. Clinton said she "liked" the idea was enough for spinmeisters of many stripes. The troublesome element for the purposes of this entry is this: local newspapers carry letters to the editor which do not reflect well on the Senator, mainly because the letters do not reflect, with precision, the statement of the Senator.

From The Desert Sun, published in Palm Springs, we have this from a man I know personally:

Coming to America
Just when I thought Hillary Clinton would be a good candidate for the U.S. presidency, I read that she would like the government (we, the taxpayers) to give each newborn baby $5,000.
How many more men and women would enter our country illegally than are already now?
Randy Winbigler

Cathedral City

Randy's letter also appeared in the October 5, 2007 edition of The Press-Enterprise, published in Riverside, California, along with this letter:

I can't believe it. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said recently that every child born in the United States should get a $5,000 "baby bond" from the government to help pay for future costs of college or buying a home.

Sen. Clinton has never been shy about her affinity for collectivism. Her efforts to create policy, from health-care reform to improving schools to strengthening families, always revolve around big government.
The woman is incapable of conceiving a private-sector role, save for the vital function of supplying tax dollars to fuel the bureaucracy.

Welfare can render great harm to its intended beneficiaries. Welfare recipients have been locked into dependency, removed from productive endeavors, robbed of self-esteem and shut out of the possibility of upward mobility.

Such largesse is generosity with the people's money, and it is a shameless bid to buy votes. It is also naked socialism run amok, another government boondoggle in the making.
Sun City

Dear Gentle Reader(s), I have given you the original situation as well as two letters to local newspapers. Has not the good Senator been maligned? "I like the idea" has been transmuted into "should get" and "would like to give."

One also wonders about the function of the editor for letters to the editor. You know, they pay good money to people to select the letters and to edit them for agreement with the individual paper's standards.

"What standards were at play in this instance,?" one asks.

We wait for an apology from those responsible.

Yeah. Right.

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