James Bovard discusses the GIVE Act, AmeriCoprs, and expansion of ‘public’ service on AntiWar Radio.
2 Apr 09 | AntiWar Radio
James Bovard, policy advisor at The Future of Freedom Foundation, discusses the prospect of mandatory national service in the U.S., the often dubious contributions made by AmeriCorps programs, the expansion of civil service budgets from the Clinton to Obama presidencies and the general dislike of compulsory service among Americans.
The American Conservative – ” National Disservice” by James Bovard – 6 Apr 09:
On March 18, the House of Representatives voted 321-105 to pass the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act, and the Senate is expected quickly to follow suit. The GIVE Act more than triples the number of slots for AmeriCorps members from 75,000 to 250,000. And it takes a giant step toward expanding Washington’s power to make “service” compulsory for all young Americans.
President Obama praises AmeriCorps for embodying “the best of our nation’s history, diversity and commitment to service.” In reality, AmeriCorps’s essence is paying people on false pretenses to do unnecessary things.
Since President Clinton created the program in 1993, politicians of both parties have endlessly touted its recruits as volunteers toiling selflessly for the common good. But the average AmeriCorps member receives more than $15,000 a year in pay and other benefits, and almost 90 percent go on to work for government agencies or nonprofit groups. Rather than financial martyrdom, signing up for AmeriCorps is, for many, akin to a paid internship.
Even though AmeriCorps is popular with the Washington establishment, it has always been a laughingstock. During the Clinton administration, AmeriCorps members helped run a program in Buffalo that gave children $5 for each toy gun they brought in, as well as a certificate praising their decision not to play with these trinkets. In San Diego, AmeriCorps members busied themselves collecting used bras and panties for a homeless shelter. In Los Angeles, they foisted unreliable ultra-low-flush toilets on poor people. >>>