Barack Obama

GIVE a Little Bit of Your Service to Me

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The House o' Reps yesterday passed by a 321-105 vote the marvelously named Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act, or–you know it!–GIVE. It is a veritable corpsapalooza, and may serve as the gateway drug to the illiberal oxymoron of compulsory volunteerism:

Strengthening the social fabric of the nation

The legislation, slated to cost $6 billion over five years, would create 175,000 "new service opportunities" under AmeriCorps, bringing the number of participants in the national volunteer program to 250,000. It would also create additional "corps" to expand the reach of volunteerism into new sectors, including a Clean Energy Corps, Education Corps, Healthy Futures Corps and Veterans Service Corps, and it expands the National Civilian Community Corps to focus on additional areas like disaster relief and energy conservation. …

[T]he bill creates a "Congressional Commission on Civic Service."

The bipartisan commission will be tasked with exploring a number of topics, including "whether a workable, fair and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed and how such a requirement could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the nation."

This is an idea so terrible that it's hard to muster a wisecrack. For a few thoughts on why, see Reason's archive on national service.