$20B Babies.

I don’t remember this being posted yet (it is a week or 2 old)

The European socialist-style plan would contain no guarantee the money would be used for college tuition.

If they didn’t spend the cash on college costs, Clinton said the children could tap into the taxpayer-provided funds to put a down payment on a home.

She sees the plan as a way of building a stronger economy by encouraging people to save in the face of rising college and housing costs.

“Every person born in this country would be given that kind of account because we want to make an investment in America’s young people,” Clinton said.

Left untouched, earning 3 percent interest, the $5,000 baby boon would build to $8,512 by the time toddlers turned 18.

Clinton and her aides pro vided no details on how the pro gram would be paid for, what it would cost, or how it would be applied or enforced.

But with around 4 million U.S. babies born each year, the grants would cost more than $20 billion yearly - not counting administrative costs.

Pressed for details hours after Clinton floated the idea, campaign spokesman Blake Zeff backpedaled, saying the plan “is not a firm policy proposal, but an idea under consideration.”

Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani slammed the proposal, saying on the Sean Hannity radio show that the Clinton campaign is “based on pandering to the point where I think they think the American people are stupid.”

Clinton’s idea represents a dramatic expansion of a proposal she floated last year without much notice: giving new babies a $500 savings bond when they are born and another when they turn 10.

And it was the second time in a month Clinton has proposed a Europe-style social spending program. She unveiled a $110 billion-a-year, government-funded plan on Sept. 17 that would provide health care for 47 million uninsured people.

Clinton’s plan, which she said would apply to every child regardless of income, resembles the kind of social-welfare spending popular on the other side of the Atlantic.

Britain launched a plan to give hundreds of dollars to each parent with children born after 2002, and France offers the same per month to parents caring for children - much of it distributed without regard to income.

Clinton’s $5,000 grant plan “sounds like a huge entitlement, very much along the socialist line,” said Alison Fraser, of the Heritage Foundation, who called the idea “astounding.”

“These babies are already going to come into the world with a birth burden of $170,000,” Fraser said. explaining that that will be their share of their parents’ Social Security and Medicare benefits, but does not count the national debt.

“This comes at a time when candidates need to be acknowledging the huge fiscal problems the nation faces because of retirement entitlements,” Fraser said.

The proposal would not be the first U.S. baby subsidy.

Congress passed a $500-per-child tax credit in 1997 that has become extremely popular and been increased. And state and local governments have enacted school voucher plans that have been controversial because funds can sometimes be used for private schools.

So who’s ready for Clinton to throw even more tax money away?