Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ask Not What Ted Kennedy Can Do For You, But What You Can Do For Ted Kennedy's Sense of Paid Voluntarism

Here's Reason magazine's Nick Gellespie on the gloriously misnamed "Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act":

Yesterday, President Barack Obama delivered (finally!) on arguably his most hope-changiest of all his campaign promises to use your tax dollars to support make-work jobs that will (finally!) allow America’s vast, all-ages reserve army of the unemployed to be paid volunteers with AmeriCorps. . . .First, public or national service is profoundly un-American as a historical concept and comes always and everywhere slathered in the stink of trench warfare and rhetorical horseshit. This is especially true when it is paid service even as those participating and spending your tax dollars luxuriate in the silky-smooth language of altruism. Which, last time I checked, was supposed to be free. Jesus rendered unto Caesar; he didn’t ask for a block grant from Pontius Pilate in return. That Obama pushes national service and voluntarism even as he works to limit tax breaks for charitable giving that drives all sorts of philanthropy is a classic screw-you, my-way-or-the-highway move.

And why hasn't this mis-step been reported around the globe?

A few things regarding this piece of self-congratulatory lard every bit as bloated and morally compromised as the man for whom it is named (as it happens, Obama seemed to be confusing Teddy K with JFK, proclaiming ""I want all Americans to take up that spirit of the man for whom this bill is named; of a president who sent us to the moon; of a dreamer who always asked 'Why not?'").

Read the whole thing if you get a chance. Worth committing to memory:

AmeriCorps is a program with a long and distinguished history of sucking even by government standards. It effectively comes in second to the standard-issue DMV bureau, with its director in 2003 dubbing it "another cumbersome, unpredictable government bureaucracy." Yeah, yeah, they can fix all that and become squeaky clean, yadda yadda yadda, and that still doesn't address the more basic fact that it is at best superfluous to what Americans, young and old, are already doing: Which is volunteering and "giving back" to the community up the ying-yang.

The concept of "paid" volunteers reminds me of the confusing voluntary/mandatory training camps the NFL gets confused about every summer. (See the 2nd commenter on that link.) It's one or the other, voluntary or mandatory. Not both. Or in another sense of the word, one can either do volunteer work or have a job. Not both within the same organization. If you're getting paid, it's a government job.

Gillespie gives Ted Kennedy credit where a wee bit o' credit is due:

(Kennedy) played a leading role in the deregulation of airline pricing and (even more important) interstate trucking, the latter of which is surely one of the greatest reasons why so much in America is now within reach of even poor people.

Even a blind hog can find an acorn every now and then.

A fresh coat of whitening to Instapundit for the link.

1 comment:

TarrantLibertyGuy said...

I like the new hyphenated-word "hope-changiest", but this is more like the most "abandon-all-hopiest" policies he's advocating.