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At least its not the Freikorps (update)
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, November 08, 2008

Jon Henke points to a little editing at the Obama site. The original (cached):
The Obama Administration will call on Americans to serve in order to meet the nation’s challenges. President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in underserved schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps. Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year. Obama will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start.
The revised version:
The Obama Administration will call on Americans to serve in order to meet the nation’s challenges. President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in underserved schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps. Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by setting a goal that all middle school and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year and by developing a plan so that all college students who conduct 100 hours of community service receive a universal and fully refundable tax credit ensuring that the first $4,000 of their college education is completely free. Obama will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start.
So now it's a 'goal' and a bribe instead of being mandatory (although that was obviously the first inclination). $40 an hour to do 'community service'. "Service"? I thought that was voluntary. And what about those who don't go to college? Will they pay them $40 an hour for 'service'?

So he's been caught in a change on this policy - nothing particularly new there.

And in all honesty, that's not what disturbs me most about this bit of "now you see it and now you don't". While it may not be the Young Pioneers or the Red Guard, there is certainly a whiff of those sorts of organizations in this line up:

Classroom Corps? Health Corps? Clean Energy Corps? Veterans Corps?

There wouldn't be any room or possibility for a youthful fanatic ideologue or two to grow and develop in those sorts of organizations would there? And since we're going to do 50 hours for both middle and high school, no opportunity for a little indoctrination while "serving" is there (after all, how would they ever understand why they're serving without it?)?

Farfetched?

Well here's the paragraph preceding the both the original and revised text:
"When you choose to serve — whether it's your nation, your community or simply your neighborhood — you are connected to that fundamental American ideal that we want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness not just for ourselves, but for all Americans. That's why it's called the American dream."
"Choose to serve?" Sounds like it, doesn't it? I wonder - is there an opt out choice here, or is this a typical "choice" from the left?

Hey, they're selling the new and improved "American Dream" - you will get on board.

UPDATE: And now to the pedantic stuff, like cost and administration:
* Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of the roughly 3.2 million high school seniors who graduate each year who aren't cut out for college, or aren't yet ready for what's left of its rigors, will not go into private-sector jobs that might make sense for them, but will instead erroneously or prematurely choose higher education, partially because of this perk.

* Administering the program will require a vast bureaucracy, including verifications that kids indeed attended eligible schools (full-time?), indeed did the service, didn't drop out as soon as their service was completed, etc., etc. This bureaucracy will almost certainly impose paperwork requirements on colleges, as well as charitable and government organizations, that can ill afford it.

* Roughly 60% of high-school grads go directly on to college. Let's estimate that this puts 8 million kids in college at any one time (I think the number is higher, but I can't prove it right now). If they are required to put in the service (that's what the site still says), the program would cost Uncle Sam $32 billion a year (8 million x $4,000).

* In the last fiscal year, the entire Department of Education spent $66 billion. This one program would expand the Department's budget by almost 50%, before adding a dime for administration.

* More practically, are there 800 million hours (8 million kids at 100 hours each) of meaningful community service work out there? Even if there is, how do you manage a program with the equivalent of almost 4 million full-time employees efficiently and effectively? Wal-Mart, which is I believe the nation's largest employer, has 2.1 million employees. (Ironic/never happen suggestion of the day: Maybe Uncle Sam should outsource program administration to Wal-mart. At least they might keep it under control).
And that's just one of the "corps". Sounding better all the time, isn't it?
 
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All of these corpses (awfully militaristic, eh?) will of course be government operated and financed. After a few years of this I expect that all those thousands of non-governmental service groups (Optimists, K of C, Shriners, Jaycees, Ruritan, etc. ad inf.) will be encouraged to merge with whatever corps they feel appropriate, so that they will not waste resources in redundant and possibly conflicting efforts.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Classroom Corps? Health Corps? Clean Energy Corps? Veterans Corps?
I thought leftists were anti-corporatism?
 
Written By: huh
URL: http://
Ugh.

I don’t know what people think the "American Dream" is but I really doubt that it has anything at all to do with community service.

As it is, my daughter has an 80 hour community service requirement for her charter high school and she’s begging to get a job, to work, and I’m telling her to get her community service hours "out of the way" so that when she can *work* she can do that for the few hours she has available after her class-work. Does someone think that kids are sitting around idle? Even without those mandatory service hours an after school *job* is almost out of the question.

Double this for college students... when, pray tell, in their daily schedule can they possibly find the time for 100 hours of community service? Maybe, if their parents are RICH and they don’t have to get a job!

And the reasoning... that students will learn after this experience of being made to work for no pay, that it’s intrinsically rewarding to volunteer, is actually going to teach exactly the opposite. What makes it intrinsically rewarding to volunteer is very much dependent on the fact that you did what you did freely for no reward except knowing that you helped out.

When I was in college I went to a concert at the State Fair... country band I think, so lots of adults and older people... and it rained and the parking lot turned into knee deep mud. ALL the cars were stuck. My friends and I pushed one car after another out of the lot. With the exception of one group, everyone was thankful and thrilled that they didn’t need to ruin their clothes too, pushing their car out, and it felt *great* to just spontaneously help like that. It was more fun than the concert, even if we did get in trouble for tracking mud into the dorms the next day.

Imagine, if you would, if working the parking lot at the State Fair was our "mandatory community service hours". Would any of us been on the high we were on when we staggered back to the dorms afterward?

Helping people *feels* fabulous.

Doing a CHORE, feels like a CHORE.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
"More practically, are there 800 million hours (8 million kids at 100 hours each) of meaningful community service work out there?"

No. Most of the community service college students do now is... questionable.
 
Written By: Effeminem
URL: http://ethermind.blogspot.com
Any Obama supporter who doesn’t immediately join one of these various corps. is a chickenhawk.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
"So now it’s a ’goal’ and a bribe instead of being mandatory..."

Hah hah! You seem surprised that The Clown™ is going back on his "promises."

Uh, those weren’t "promises." They were lies to make the morons who voted for him do just that.

So, it is now Saturday, four days since he won the election, and already he is going back on this. What will happen once The Clown™ is President? Back to taking away guns? Gays in the military? Closing down coal plants (and the jobs of the dupes who voted for him in West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania)?

Oh, this will be a really fun four years.
 
Written By: James Marsden
URL: http://
Question: Is there really some huge group of students who want to attend college and have the necessary talent, but can not due to financial issues?

I don’t mean a handful of people around the edges who cannot, because there’s a certain number of people who will always have this problem and $4K a year only marginally decreases that number (at great, great cost). I mean, a systematic failure for talented people to come up with money?

Or has this simply become a standard way for a politician to "show they care" with our money?

Honest question. Yes, I have a guess at an answer, but I’m willing to be corrected. Please do it with stats, though, not anecdotes.

(We already send too many people to college. The solution to this problem is not to send more.)
 
Written By: Jeremy Bowers
URL: http://www.jerf.org/iri
James: I, for one, consider this a good sign. I’m willing to judge Obama by what he does, not what he says. And if perchance he keeps talking pretty and bedazzling his fans while not actually doing anything he promised, maybe even cutting the budget (? dare I hope?), well, than I shall consider myself lucky.

Let the bedazzled useful idiots judge on words. I shall judge on results. And frankly, "Obama does nothing of consequence" would suit me pretty well, all in all. (If he is indeed driven by ego and a need for everyone to like him, and I think the way he is silently and rapidly backing off on this with what is in practice almost no pressure applied would support that, then "does nothing" is actually a reasonably likely outcome.)
 
Written By: Jeremy Bowers
URL: http://www.jerf.org/iri
My favorite part is the "ensuring that the first $4,000 of their college education is completely free" bit. In the tradition of Inigo Montoya, I do not think that word means what they think it means.
 
Written By: Joe R.
URL: http://leninvsmussolini.blogspot.com
fully refundable tax credit
I thought I knew what this meant.

What does this mean?

A tax credit, I figured was an amount that you didn’t have to pay... like a deduction... so it doesn’t happen until you have an income.

But how would something like that be *refundable*?

Are they talking about giving college students money while they are in college?

If so... how would *that* be refundable?

 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
The idea is to get students into community activist centers for indoctrination.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Wikipedia: Tax credits. A "refundable" tax credit can drop your tax liability below zero, giving you a refund after no taxes.

Most people don’t realize this is possible, which is how Obama has flown his tax-based redistribution plans under the public’s notice. There was coverage of this (link is an example), but it just sort of flew under the radar. I actually saw the misconception that this is impossible in my workplace, so I suspect that the vast majority of people don’t understand that "cutting 95% of the taxes" was intended to be a literal description, not a mathematically-impossible promise.
 
Written By: Jeremy Bowers
URL: http://www.jerf.org/iri
So... when my son starts school next year he can file his taxes with no income at all because he spent 100 hours volunteering someplace and he’ll get $4000 back on his "tax return?"

Cool Beans.

Free money.

And here I thought he’d have to get a job at McDonald’s.

(Gots to go to bed before I get silly and embarrass myself.)
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Just to be really clear...

This is a good idea the way that standing on an office chair to reach something on a high shelf is a good idea... or piercing your own nose is a good idea... or throwing up to lose weight is a good idea... or baking cookies while blogging is a good idea...
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
On the other hand... Free Money.

I don’t expect that if this idiocy goes through that I’ll fall on my libertarian sword for the sake of moral superiority or some notion that I won’t be paying for my kid’s education one way or another.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Do the math. If we pay a kid $40 an hour, that pay grade equates to $83,200 per year. I do not know any kid who’s worth that kind of money. A fair wage would be $10 an hour, max.
 
Written By: arch
URL: http://
$10 an hour or $40... if people are going to be hired to do work, don’t call it volunteering.

Just hire someone.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Can I get paid for my volunteer work when I was in college, so that I can pay off my student loans?
 
Written By: Is
URL: http://
Screw the kids who choose technical schools where they’ll learn a skill and skip the ’liberal aspects’ of education....heh.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
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