This article from the Strib yesterday describes the passage of the GIVE "Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act"-- a $6 Billion expansion of the AmeriCorps program that more than triples the size of the Clinton program. Because- that's what we have money to do right now.
Some highlights of the legislation that passed the Democrat-led House and Senate:
1. Grows the number of volunteers nationwide to 250,000, up from 75,000
2. Establishes four new service corps to address key needs in low income communities, including a Clean Energy Corps to encourage energy efficiency and conservation, an Education Corps to help increase student engagement, achievement and graduation, a Healthy Futures Corps to improve health care access, and a Veterans Service Corps to enhance services for veterans.
3. Creates two new fellowships to engage social entrepreneurs, boomers and retirees, the private sector and Americans from all generations into service.
(What the heck is a "social entrepreneur"?)
4. Expands the Volunteers for Prosperity program which encourages highly skilled professionals to serve internationally in targeted areas of need such as global health.
We give BILLIONS of dollars in Aid already to target "global health"...WE DON'T HAVE MONEY!
There goes the federal government- they need to raise taxes to spend on THEIR version of philanthropy. The all-caring government.
From the Strib article:
"I call on all Americans to stand up and do what they can to serve their communities, shape our history and enrich both their own lives and the lives of others across this country," Obama said in a statement.
And for that service- you'll get up to $12,000 from the government FREE! On top of student loans and grants. All in the name of "volunteerism".
Of course groups like Planned Parenthood also enlist these "volunteers" (the Strib misses that little point only noting that "AmeriCorps offers a range of volunteer opportunities including housing construction, youth outreach, disaster response and caring for the elderly.") Most of the "causes" of AmeriCorps are left-leaning- what a shock. They include "improving energy efficiency" "strengthening access to health care" "environmental concerns" "activism"
I went to the AmeriCorps website and quickly perused opportunities in Minnesota- here's just one of the "service opportunities"- it's full time:
LEAP Initiative: "Members matched to programs and schools that are working to provide more resources to families in need of school readiness support. Half way through the year, members begin to speak to citizens groups about the importance of support early childhood (readiness efforts) and share opportunities for volunteerism in early childhood programs locally or on committees to move things forward.
So there's no political agenda, huh? You're training people to go out and lobby community groups to support more early childhood programs- which low and behold means more money from the government. This is really outrageous.
P.S. these "volunteer" jobs include childcare assistance, relocation assistance, health coverage and housing.
And a note to liberals- these are also paid programs through Catholic Charities, Bethel University, Episcopal Community Service thanks to Bush's faith-based initiatives program. Is that right either?
Applications to AmeriCorps have exploded with the plunging employment market. Last month, there were 9,731 applications submitted to the AmeriCorps online system, more than triple the 3,159 submitted in February 2008.
"National service gives us the opportunity to bring in some of the best and the brightest, in terms of young people right out of school, as well as folks who have completed their career and want to give back to their communities in a more significant way," Andrews said.
My brother-in-law- who's in the Army- was completely right on this-- the left is trying to compete with the military for the best and brightest. Their program is called "National Civilian Community Corps" through AmeriCorps. We already have a national service program in this country, it's called the U.S. Armed Forces. We pay them to provide us with something that we can't provide ourselves- national defense. You enlist, you sacrifice, you sign up for war or whatever may come- I'm more than willing to pay you for that service.
This isn't "service", this isn't "volunteering"- these are paid government jobs pure and simple. And what "service" does the taxpayer get in return? An army of young people going straight from the liberal indoctrination at colleges and universities into these jobs. If another 175,000 are going to be lured into public-sector jobs, how on earth are we going to have the taxes to pay for this program? The program will now cost $8.3 Billion (and that only covers 5 years!)
And how can you call it "serving your community", Mr. President, when you're getting paid?? Talk about taking away the spirit of true charity and volunteerism.
The article concludes:
The bill is named for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., who with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has been its champion.
I'll remember that the next time I see a request for money from Sen. Hatch-- perhaps I need to email his office this key paragraph from our 2008 National Platform (which I just quoted a week or so ago but bears repeating):
Republicans will uphold and defend our party’s core principles: Constrain the federal government to its legitimate constitutional functions. Let it empower people, while limiting its reach into their lives. Spend only what is necessary, and tax only to raise revenue for essential government functions. Unleash the power of enterprise, innovation, civic energy, and the American spirit – and never pretend that government is a substitute for family or community.
I'm happy to report that NONE of the GOP Congressional delegation from Minnesota voted for the final legislation. Bachmann, Kline and Paulsen all voted NO.