March 31, 2009

The Rise of Obama Corps

By Isaac MacMillen: As ALG News mentioned last week, Rep. Virginia Foxx's (R-VA) amendment banning so-called “volunteer” organizations from using taxpayer funds to political purposes was stripped from its parent bill in the Senate, and replaced by an amendment allowing those organizations to skirt the law and continue lobbying. This week, the House will approve the Senate version, and President Obama will no doubt sign it shortly thereafter.

The battle to kill this bill in Congress is very likely over. Unless the Blue Dogs can muster enough support to halt Speaker Pelosi's march to madness, the American taxpayer will have to pony up another $5 billion for paid “volunteers” (an oxymoron if there ever was one) to politically-oriented organizations, the aims of many of which they will invariably oppose.

So when groups like ACORN and the DNC come knocking at the government's door for taxpayer funds and “volunteers,” the only thing standing in their way will be a hollow “promise” to not use them for partisan purposes. Of course, strictly speaking, they can get around that by using the volunteers and funding to create and manage the 'non-partisan' infrastructure, thus enabling them to shift more non-government dollars into lobbying and partisan efforts. It's called “fungibility.” And the “volunteer” front groups know how to use it well.

In essence, a new army has been created—a civilian army, ready to do the will of those organizations that have the political shrewdness to hire them. By creating this massive influx of government-managed, taxpayer-funded positions, President Obama will enable any group (with the proper connections, of course) to access this talent pool and influence Washington—all at taxpayer expense. Another unintended (or was it?) consequence will be the further reliance on government support fostered through it. When the 250,000 openings are created, the agencies that hire the 'volunteers' will begin to depend on the federal government for the many services they will no-doubt create as a result of the additional manpower and monetary assets at their disposal.

The citizens who 'volunteer' will also share a type of attachment, similar—albeit to a much lower degree—to that held by many veterans to their branch of service. This affinity will, of course, result in opposition to future attempts at clamping down on these government-funded 'volunteer' programs. Americans will turn on their TVs to hear tear-jerking stories of how much it meant to the participants, and those they helped. Of course, absent from such presentations will be the waste and fraud accompanying the government funds, and the simple fact that actual volunteering can be accomplished without the government's support—individuals have been doing it for millenniums.

But whatever the case may be, one certain result is that the surge in openings will put the federal government in a more powerful bargaining position, enabling it to assert greater control over organizations, many of which influence public policy. For a President who believes that government is the solution, that vision of the future is understandably appealing. There can be no dispute that the propaganda value of such a large corps of youthful “volunteers”—drawn largely from the ranks of the unemployed, no doubt—would be enormous. Spread across the country, these highly-political 'volunteers' could create the American equivalent of the infamous Castro Youth, Mao's Red Guard, or Lenin's Little Potatoes. As ALG News reported last year, President Obama promised to expand the National Service Corps—including AmeriCorps, the recipient of the $5 billion taken involuntarily from the pockets of American taxpayers.

With $5 billion and hundreds of thousands of present “volunteers,” there clearly will be an aura of 'national service' uber alles attached to AmeriCorps. By having Americans involved in 'community development' projects—which are sure to include such things as voter registration for ACORN, staff work for the DNC, and administrative assignments for MoveOn.org—the political landscape will change. And any who resist such “change” will be cast in the role of willful obstructionists. Equipped with both the tools and means of advancing a radical agenda, President Obama will feel free to pursue his nationalistic policies with near impunity. And in the process, the next generation will be brought into agreement with the liberal philosophy, supporting government expansion both of size and in role.

If the Blue Dogs don't stop this bill now, the damage done will be enormous. Americans will want to watch their wallets as they grow ever thinner. But they will also want to be on the lockout for hundreds of thousands of thoroughly indoctrinated youthful “volunteers” marching in lockstep to the beat of a collectivist drum—bought and paid for with taxpayer dollars. It won't be pretty. Isaac MacMillen is a Contributing Editor of ALG News Bureau.

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