February 2, 2002 - Augusta Chronicle: Funding not needed for US Freedom Corps

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By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, February 20, 2002 - 10:08 am: Edit Post

Funding not needed for US Freedom Corps

Read and comment on this editorial from the Augusta Chronicle on why the US Freedom Corps duplicates programs already in place and USA Freedom Corps proposal flies in the face of conservative fiscal principles at:


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Feb 2, 2002 - Augusta Chronicle

Volunteering to make our communities stronger is always a good idea -- no one can argue that.

But President George W. Bush's USA Freedom Corps proposal flies in the face of conservative fiscal principles. It duplicates other programs already in place, including the "Thousand Points of Light" program initiated by George Bush the elder when he was president. That program has the same mission junior George has set for Freedom Corps -- encouraging volunteerism.

It also duplicates aspects of President Clinton's AmeriCorps program, which cannibalized the old 1960s Volunteers In Service to America (VISTA) program, which was an extension of President John Kennedy's Peace Corps program. Freedom Corps duplicates the Senior Corps program, which is a part of the federally funded Corporation for National and Community Service. The list goes on and on and we're starting to think that President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society spending spree is returning.

Although it's a warm-and-fuzzy idea to set up an agency to encourage more volunteerism, it's unnecessary. After all, how hard is it to find a place to volunteer?

The answer is: It's not hard at all. Need cries out from every sector, whether it's children who need tutoring, litter that needs picking up or hospice patients who need comforting. We were all born into a world of endless and obvious needs, and if we can't find places to volunteer without the government's guiding hand, then we're not looking hard enough.

The Thousand Points of Light Foundation gets $8 million a year from taxpayers. AmeriCorps gets more than $500 million a year. Senior Corps gets $34 million. Freedom Corps will cost $560 million.

Bush can exhort citizens to volunteer, but he doesn't need to expand government programs to do that. It's just government paternalism taken to the extreme.

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