Patterico's Pontifications


Time and Money to Burn

Filed under: General — JRM @ 8:57 pm

[Posted by JRM]

Something that’s gone mostly under the radar is Obama’s National Service Plan, a plan to increase volunteerism.

As long you don’t limit volunteerism to voluntary, unpaid work, it should do that, too.

The plan includes:

$10 per hour for some “volunteers” via college scholarships.

– Establishment of five new volunteer agencies under AmeriCorps: Classroom Corps, Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, Veterans Corps, and Homeland Security Corps.

– Expansion of the Senior Corps. Participating seniors will be paid.

– Expansion of the Peace Corps. Peace Corps members get paid to live up to local standards (which is to say, not very much), and get $6,000 if they complete a 27-month stint.

– An online searchable “craigslist for service.” Users can track their hours of service and “perhaps compete for awards from local chambers of commerce or foundations.”

– Making funding of schools conditional on requiring community service by students, since “Schools that require service as part of the educational experience create improved learning environments.”

– Connect “Disadvantaged Youth” to service opportunities. Disadvantaged youth include all prison inmates age 16 to 24. Yes, the rich kid who robbed the store for heroin is disadvantaged.

– Start a new program, the government-supported nonprofit “Social Investment Fund Network.” This will operate “through a network of funds that will be rooted in the private sector.”

– Start the “Social Entrepeneurship Agency for Nonprofits” which will make grants to non-profits which meet government criteria.

– Start a “Green Vet Intiative” which will place outgoing military in alternative energy field.

Now, why didn’t I include the links to the conservative pundits who are maliciously saying these are part of the plan? Because all of these are in the plan. Seriously. It’s on their website. It’s in a plan that someone thought was such a good idea, they wrote it down.

So: We’re paying people for service. This isn’t volunteering. Plus, people interested in volunteering will be taken away from programs the government doesn’t like. I’ll go out on a limb and guess that the National Right to Life League isn’t going to be on that list, and I don’t see any politician putting, say, the Internet Infidels on that list. No, approved government charities only!

And why are we doing this? Because people are too stupid and lazy to do what is right, but if forced, will do the right thing and become better people. Politico points out that McCain doesn’t even have a National Service Plan! Doubtless, without such a plan, no one will ever figure out how to volunteer for anything!

Also, your kids need to be forced into public service rather than, say, learn more math. I’m sure there’s a professor of education who approves.

This is the Democrats’ version of the draft. It’s appalling. More people should say so, including John McCain.

But I don’t think he will.

AmeriCorps has had some prominent Republican supporters including, yep, John McCain. However, government hasn’t always done real well on tasks like this.

How much for this plan? A mere $3.5 billion a year, according to Obama-Biden. But it will be paid for by taxing big corporations.

There are, apparently, rational people who think that starting this massive government program with our tax money is a good idea. I don’t.

I do about 40 hours a year of the sort of volunteering that’s of the voluntary, unpaid variety, and I work hard to do a good job. I can’t imagine that conscripted, paid, uh, volunteers will be as effective. It’s a government power play to increase the size of government. And I remember a time when Republicans were against that.


45 Responses to “Time and Money to Burn”

  1. Political correctness at its worst, and it depresses me to think that liberals believe Americans have to be bribed or forced to help others. But what a great post.

    DRJ (c953ab)

  2. What color uniforms will they wear?

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  3. We already own all of the brownshirts, daleyrocks. I suspect their uniform will be rainbow colored, and have a unicorn as their logo.

    JD (f7900a)

  4. Yes, JRM, very informative and, troubling. Obama reveals yet another low opinion of Americans. We’re so selfish and self-consume that we are not only unable to be inspired and show thanks for what we have by volunteering but obviously we must be forced to do so.

    And funny too how the left seems to believe big corporations are limitless wells of resources for their use…..

    Dana (049cf9)

  5. Michelle warned us that under an Obama presidency, we would not be permitted to stay in our comfort zones. We would be dragged out, forced to interact, to assimilate and accept.

    Volunteering is so passive, as it seeks only the labor and not the mind of the participant. An Obama Presidency will not be tolerant of such half participation. All or nothing will be its motto, and half committed “volunteers” will find themselves out of college, out of assistance and marked as a person of question.

    The Obama Corps is also only a beginning. Consider the level of re-education that is needed for the middle class. Look at the resentment… while the lower and upper classes idealize the great leader, the middle class has opposed his ascent at a level of two-thirds to more against. As was the case in Mao’s China, Stalin’s Russia and Pol Pot’s Kampuchea, the Middle Class will be reformed at any cost.

    There /are/ no volunteers in the future Obama brings. Only the committed and the removed.

    redherkey (9f5961)

  6. I retired after 22 years of Volunteer military service and have 15 years as a Volunteer firefighter (EMT for 8 years) and I’ll quit in Jan if Hussein O is elected. Let the taxpayers pay the hundreds of thousands of firefighter that now do the job with $0 in compensation. I probably spend $75-100 per month (just gas) responding to calls from home. I’ll use the extra money to stay drunk (I really don’t drink) so I never know or care what the Islamic POS is doing. His jackbooted thugs can take care of it. Actually if we all quit (no Fire Rescue in rural area’s) there would be a rapid reduction in population before enough could be trained to handle half of what we do.

    Scrapiron (963843)

  7. Hey… my kids want to know if they get paid for reporting the un-Obama activities of their parents. $10 goes a long way these days (especially when you can buy a Wachovia for $29 and a few half-price discount coupons to Taco Bell).

    redherkey (9f5961)

  8. But it will be paid for by taxing big corporations.

    *sigh* when will they learn, companies dont pay taxes, they just collect them.

    chas (e36377)

  9. Remember he wants to make a “civilian anti-terrorism corps” to equal the military in size and resources? And I guess he would put Bill Ayers in charge of training all of these “volunteers”.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  10. You know, the whole idea of paid volunteerism is pretty obnoxious (as everyone is pointing out) but what really bothers me is that pretty much every one of these initiatives involves someone meddling in someone else’s life. It sounds to me like if you are a schoolkid, or a fatherless inner-city dweller, or a returning veteran, or a senior citizen, some little snot-nosed Obamabot is going to be coming around on a regular basis and no doubt telling you how to live a more fulfilling life as dictated by the Dear Leader.

    – Making funding of schools conditional on requiring community service by students, since “Schools that require service as part of the educational experience create improved learning environments.”

    Beautiful. Something that is pretty much impossible to prove quantifiably — how do we measure how much a “learning environment” has “improved”? — but sounds so nice that no one will dare challenge the assertion.

    JVW (f93297)

  11. I already volunteer hundreds of hours each year working youth track meets whose athletes compete on grants from the government for summer activities for kids. Then I volunteer one hour each school day to tutor 3rd and 4th graders on reading and math. Last year I totaled about 400 hours of volunteer activity, and that’s after a full year of teaching, another 800 hours of driver education, and another 125+ days/nights of high school and college officiating, for which I am paid.

    I can’t find enough people to volunteer for the things I do, even when I can pay them, for example, because mostg people I know that can do already do….

    Obama’s plan will fail…and the government will throw more money after more money at the “problem” they started….

    reff (4ba5a7)

  12. reff,

    That’s stunning volunteerism but the drivers ed impressed me even more. There should be a special place in heaven for drivers ed teachers.

    DRJ (c953ab)

  13. reff…

    Obama’s plan will succeed. Volunteerism without compensation creates minimal obligation on the part of the financial recipient. This means Obama cannot force you to comply and adopt his philosophy when you’re not dependent upon him.

    He will find an endless supply of paid volunteers when he is the leader. You will be horrified that they lack any of the professional qualities you expect, but that isn’t what Obama wants taught. Compliance and recognition of the leader’s philosphy is paramount.

    If this sounds absurd, my apologies. I spent several years in Germany in the 1980s understanding just how they allowed Hitler to ascend and could not believe such an educated populace could permit the rise of such obvious tyranny. Yet we have ~52% of our population embracing it for little more than trinkets: $10/hour volunteering, free health care and confiscation/destruction of the middle class.

    We’re more than halfway there…

    redherkey (9f5961)

  14. Don’t forget Ropelight’s Foundation for the Rehabilitataion of Fast Women. Sure, it’s difficult work, but there are just too many guys who aren’t pulling their share of the load. In fact the guys are part of the problem.

    We need government assistance to meet the demand. You just don’t know how hard it is to get these gals to shape-up and get with the program. And, $10/hour isn’t going to cut the mustard. I’m going to need 3 or 4 times that just to get their attention. Help me help them back to the straight and narrow. Do your fair share. Send money quick!

    Ropelight (36617f)

  15. Its such a shame Obama doesn’t read this post because the he could see firsthand the *quality volunteerism that takes place without the force, uh inspiration of the government.

    Those who have listed what they do, I’m impressed and grateful for the willing service of fellow citizens. I guess the left is in short supply of such people hence the perceived need to *force* them….

    *with the exception of Ropelight :)

    Dana (049cf9)

  16. Well, my high school already had “volunteer” days to support the sports program.

    If you made a fuss and refused to “volunteer” to work at the various jobs around the valley, you had to set in one classroom, all day, without even assignments.

    Not a problem for me, because I just read books and scribbled down ideas for stories– but for normal folks? Ew.

    (Other funny point: I was in knowledge bowl– think “Jeopardy” with teams. We had to get sports exams to make sure we were healthy enough to set and answer questions, as well as the $200 equipment fee…..)

    Foxfier (15ac79)

  17. Dana… you’re right on per your comments about the quality of volunteerism today. There’s much the Obama man-child could learn if he decided to observe his outside environment and discover how it actually works, as contrasted to the “let’s just blow crap up” theories of his mentor, Bill Ayers.

    As a risk management exec by day, I volunteer as my kids high school debate coach. I was blessed to grow up in a large district with a top coach and took state my senior year, and now hope to help my kids and their peers in a rather small district. I learned a few weeks ago about one of the top debate programs in the nation, led by a small businessman in the Des Moines, Iowa area. A father a bit older than me, he saw the decline in the program he graduated from and his kids were about to attend, and he stepped in. He brought that program back and it competes as one of the nation’s top policy debate programs.

    Even more remarkable is that this father runs a construction supply firm. For those here familiar with the sub-prime meltdown, it has not been kind to new construction and contractors, and subsequently, those who provide supplies to the contractors have seen numerous defaults. While his business suffers an existential risk thanks to Obama’s Fannie & Freddie friends and campaign experts, he continues to volunteer and provide exceptional leadership. In case you were curious, his kids have already graduated and he continues to lead the program.

    This is something Obama, the Soviets and America’s left will never understand. You can seize and compel something all day long, but you can never make it perform. It succeeds under freedom, not tyranny. It is not a product of fat-cat Democrat special interest, nor mandated “paid volunteer” camps and programs.

    redherkey (9f5961)

  18. Side note:
    I worked three nights a week the local burger joint, and volunteered about ten or 15 hours a week at the two valley libraries, on top of working on the ranch my folks manage.

    I still wasn’t going to be forced to “volunteer” my work for the jackasses who abused me in class, or any other group the school thought “privileged” enough to be worthy of shutting down the school.

    Foxfier (15ac79)

  19. I guess I’ll have to increase the time I had planned for coaching our local NRA Jr. Marksmanship Unit.
    Some skills are too important to lose.

    Another Drew (8f95f7)

  20. And, of course, that college loan application will have a place for you to list all the volunteer jobs you’ve done….

    “Volunteers are encouraged to apply.”

    Kinda takes the ol’ “voluntary” out of the picture.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  21. Hey, I wonder if this means that jury duty will finally get paid a living wage. Just a thought.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  22. I think another area where the service stuff could get kind of crazy is at the public schools. Volunteer activities might be an essential part of the grade. Have seen some things kind of like that where our kids were expected to drum up 10 or so volunteers for the debate competition. Works great if you are “from around here” and have the extended family. Not so great if you are a military family transplanted to the area. Two of us went to the principal and expressed our concern. They backed off that idea.
    All of mine are grown now but my point is that the idea of service may have a funny way of slipping into the grading scheme at schools. My advice is to be sure to organize with other parents and be firm with the school administration.

    voiceofreason2 (6dc215)

  23. Sounds like “Cultural Revolution v 2.0″

    Dr. K (f196bc)

  24. “as contrasted to the “let’s just blow crap up” theories of his mentor, Bill Ayers.”


    Suddenly you have a problem with “let’s just blow crap up” theories?

    Or are you just pissed off that Ayers had the theories as domestic policy instead of foreign policy?

    Leviticus (ab6dbd)

  25. I just don’t think the Democrats get the whole public service thing. Next thing they will do is make it mandatory.

    Amphipolis (fdbc48)

  26. And Whoopie Goldberg was worried about the return of slavery should Obama lose.

    SarahW (a6e80b)

  27. By the way, Jefferson “paid” his slaves with food, and limited wardrobe.

    No education without your SERVICE.

    And I’m really looking forward to roving bands of funded thugs fresh out of juvie helping me green up the inside of my home.

    SarahW (a6e80b)

  28. Will they march nicely like those boys from the Kansas Charter school ( with last achievment records on the web so very dismal —– percent of “proficient or advanced in math, science, writing = 0%“)

    Will they come door to door to tell me the elements of O’s healthcare plan?

    SarahW (a6e80b)

  29. Comment by Amphipolis — 10/7/2008 @ 7:36 am

    There are school districts throughout the land that require that students complete a community service program to graduate.
    Ranks right up there with the voluntary nature of the Internal Revenue Code.

    outraged (d30543)

  30. Leviticus seems to be quite angry recently.

    JD (f7900a)

  31. More like unhinged.

    Dmac (cc81d9)

  32. Leviticus, So you agree with Ayers’ lets blow up domestic crap philosophy? How about we change that philosophy to actively blowing up Liberals and their crap? You want to wear that shoe for awhile?

    PS. Leviticus, where’s your mailbox? I want to see how you like a mailbox bomb in it like we, in Dubuque, Iowa, took from one of your leftwing nutjobs.

    PCD (1df2b5)

  33. Will the groups include the Obama Youth–Junior Fraternity Regiment?

    andycanuck (ab14a5)

  34. Comment by PCD — 10/7/2008 @ 10:40 am

    Leviticus is now firmly ensconced in the Halls of Congress; so, I guess he would only have to worry about anthrax letters.

    Another Drew (d30543)

  35. Oh. Another Drew. Hi.

    So, was that you sent a fax to my place of employment trying to “expose” me as a dirty liberal?

    PCD: Sharp as hammer, as always.

    Leviticus (ab6dbd)

  36. Well done JRM, it’s nice to see this blog actually return to the issues that will actually be affected by this election. I disagree with your overall point, although I can understand how people currently volunteering might feel that these initiatives devalue their own selfless efforts. They do not.

    I applaud all of you who work so hard to make real differences in your fellow citizens’ lives, as I applaud JRM for bringing forward for discussion an actual item from one of the candidate’s platform.

    Bob Loblaw (6d485c)

  37. imdw – Good to see you back.

    JD (f7900a)

  38. There are school districts throughout the land that require that students complete a community service program to graduate.
    Ranks right up there with the voluntary nature of the Internal Revenue Code.

    I still say that it violates the plain language of the 13th amendment(later legal nitpicking notwithstanding).

    I told my health teacher to just give me the F because I wouldn’t be doing the project, even though I was already doing volunteer work at the time and it would simply have been a matter of getting a piece of paper signed.

    Taltos (4dc0e8)

  39. Obama’s form of volunteerism is like people who “donate” blood plasma, or women who “donate” their eggs to fertility clinics.

    Icy Truth (1468e4)

  40. Leviticus — Suddenly you have a problem with “let’s just blow crap up” theories? Or are you just pissed off that Ayers had the theories as domestic policy instead of foreign policy?

    — YOU had better hope that we don’t adopt that theory domestically.

    Icy Truth (1468e4)

  41. Chilling.

    Patricia (b54e0e)

  42. “– YOU had better hope that we don’t adopt that theory domestically.”

    – Icy Truth

    YOU already have. Was that just an errant threat or do you actually fail to realize that Leftists aren’t the only people who’ve set bombs in the US?

    Leviticus (41975c)

  43. I, of course, was referring to your turn of phrase: “let’s just blow crap up” (which should be “blow up crap,” BTW). I wasn’t threatening; I was joking. Geez!

    Icy Truth (1468e4)

  44. Barky the Uniter! Ha. Hey Dooferonomy:
    “PCD: Sharp as hammer, as always”
    Paul Anka ain’t the only one who knows how to slice like an f’n hammer. It’s called pushback. Expect plenty.

    rhodeymark (4f2403)

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