Still Ragging on AmeriCorps

I was interviewed by a Christian Science Monitor  reporter recently about AmeriCorps.  The Obama administration is talking about greatly increasing the enrollment in activities like the ‘civilian conservation corps.’

Here’s an outtake from the article:

Critics point out such programs have proven inefficient in the past. “This is the type of thing that is driven by trying to make work and having the appearance of people doing good things,” says James Bovard, who has written critical assessments of AmeriCorps. “The history of AmeriCorps shows that it just results in a lot of photo ops and not achieving very much.”


Alack, the reporter didn’t mention my stories about working for the Virginia Department of Highways one summer in high school.

Increasing the number of people paid to stand around with their hands in their pockets will not solve the nation’s economic crisis.


7 Responses to Still Ragging on AmeriCorps

  1. Mahakal January 25, 2009 at 7:38 am #

    I would suggest that in an economic downturn which puts millions of people out of work, having more of them working rather than sitting at home is a good thing. Whether it can thereby “solve the nation’s economic crisis” largely depends on what you think the crisis is and how you think the economy should function in the long run. The private sector has failed to provide people with security of employment, at any rate.

  2. Original Steve January 25, 2009 at 10:04 am #

    But Jim, who is going to “organize art supplies?”

    Do you remember that little gem from Feeling Your Pain?

  3. Jim January 26, 2009 at 11:21 am #

    Steve – how can the economy recover if the art supplies are in disarray?

    Thanks for remembering that anecdote!

  4. Dirk W. Sabin January 26, 2009 at 1:28 pm #

    About the time the ‘millions of people out of work” are dispossessed of their cartoon palazzo and its Realtor-coveted ‘Paylaydian Windows” and have lost several pounds by virtue of going hungry, they will not be “sitting at home” waiting for that job digging ditches for uncle Sam. No, they will be in the middle of a bloodthirsty drunken bender of smash and grab for anything they can lay their hands on to eat. This, my friend, is what stands behind the CCC, not some vain notion of “Government looking out for it’s citizens because of the big bad evil private enterprise”. The fact that the CCC left us
    some great Parks was a happy accident. Actually, if you want to make sense of the current problem, ponder the fact that big business became alarmingly like big government over the last 40 years….in other words, it stopped seeing cause and effect relationships.

  5. Jim January 26, 2009 at 7:18 pm #

    Mahakal – how would the government seizing some people’s money to pay other people to pretend to work make the nation secure?

  6. Mahakal January 27, 2009 at 12:33 am #

    Jim, money is a totally social invention which has no intrinsic value. A debt currency like ours must either revolve or collapse, and if that happens your money is worthless anyhow.

  7. Dirk W. Sabin January 27, 2009 at 11:37 am #

    Now you just wait a minute here buster, don’t go mentioning “intrinsic value” because if we go there, 90% of the entire edifice is suspect. Everything went bad when the value of Abalone Wampum crashed.