Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Jim DeMint disses AmeriCorps

Posted by Chris Haire on Wed, Mar 25, 2009 at 7:24 AM

Sen. Jim DeMint doesn't like the National Service Act, you know Obama's plan get more young people active in their communities through the AmeriCorps program.

For those not familiar with AmeriCorps, think of it as a Peace Corps for, well, America and not some third world nation.

But DeMint, he thinks that the act is bad news, a corrupting force even. Here's what he and his staff had to say on his blog

Civil society is the only institution in America that still works because it is free from government interference. This bill distorts the motivation for vounteerism and will inevitably corrupt private charity. 

You can also watch a lengthy video of DeMint speaking on Senate floor as they debate the bill. The House has already voted in favor of their version of the National Service Act.

Unlike DeMint, The New York Times editorial board is gung ho for the bill. Here's what they said:

Essentially, the measure is an expansion of AmeriCorps, the existing domestic service program. It would increase the number of full-time and part-time service volunteers to 250,000 from 75,000 and create new programs focused on special areas like strengthening schools, improving health care for low-income communities, boosting energy efficiency and cleaning up parks.

Volunteers receive minimal living expenses and a modest educational stipend after their year of service. The bill raises the stipend to $5,350, the same as a Pell Grant. Special fellowships would be available for people 55 and older, as well as summer positions for middle- and high-school students. In tribute to victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks, Sept. 11 would be designated a day of service and remembrance.

In all, the measure would cost about $6 billion over the next five years — a sound investment in the nation’s future. Once the Senate acts, reconciling details in the two bills should not be hard. 

A sound investment or a corrupting force? Who cares? I say we turn AmeriCorps into a Reality TV show.

If the Real World has taught us anything, it's that self-absorbed young adults are fun to watch. The love triangles. The incessant whining. The clashing of cultures, as the stuck up suburban white chick with a doctor for a father and a lawyer for a mother meets the street-wise suburban black dude with a lawyer for a father and a doctor for a mother and they realize they aren't that different after all. Uglies are bumped. Day afters are taken. Ratings skyrocket.


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