It’s not just a job, it’s indenture

Evidently it doesn’t really matter how many people or organizations Barack Obama throws under the bus; after all, he expects to have free help to clean out the undercarriage. Remember this?

[W]hen I’m President, I will set a goal for all American middle and high school students to perform 50 hours of service a year, and for all college students to perform 100 hours of service a year. This means that by the time you graduate college, you’ll have done 17 weeks of service. We’ll reach this goal in several ways. At the middle and high school level, we’ll make federal assistance conditional on school districts developing service programs, and give schools resources to offer new service opportunities.

Michael Ledeen says that there’s nothing all that new here:

I wonder how many people realize that community service for high-school students is already a requirement in many, maybe even most, urban high schools. And it is virtually a requirement for kids who are applying to college, because it is one of those things that college-admissions officers “look at” in order to distinguish among the considerable number of students with fabulous transcripts and Board scores. So our president won’t have to worry about how to compel high school students to help the needy.

Still, it seems a tad curious to me, and more so to HeatherRadish:

I’m not sure why no one on O’s staff realized this “mandatory service” crap might not resonate with the portion of the electorate who has spent their whole lives being taught that the “mandatory service” of their ancestors — real ancestors or dead people who kinda look like them, doesn’t matter — automagically makes them victims of the oppressive American system even if they never lift a finger. I can see why it never occurred to him, but his wife should have been all over it. I suppose it doesn’t matter, since that portion of the electorate is going to punch the chad for him no matter what he says or does.

Think of it as equal opportunity in action, and it makes more sense. If all are screwed, then none are screwed.

Except you, if you were hoping to get some chores out of the ungrateful little snowflakes:

I’m a fan of forced child labor, but at the direction of their parents, not the damn government. (I can’t rent my niece and nephews to hang drywall if Uncle Barack’s got them painting over gang graffiti in Omaha. Feh.)

Now that I think about it, isn’t it about time for Charlie Rangel to call for the draft to be reinstituted? It’s been almost two whole years.

(With thanks to PrestoPundit for the Obama quote.)


  1. Steph Mineart »

    8 July 2008 · 7:31 pm

    You’re not seriously comparing public service with slavery, are you? Because that’s really offensive to pretty much everyone.

  2. Dan B »

    8 July 2008 · 7:46 pm

    Don’t worry, I’m sure the rich kids will have their way of it bought for them.

  3. CGHill »

    8 July 2008 · 8:45 pm

    I have a basic disagreement with almost anything that’s compulsory. (This includes the draft. I still have my draft card somewhere.)

    I’d like to think that there will be at least some sort of voluntarism involved — I can’t, or at least would rather not — imagine some Ministry of Public Service handing out assignments from on high. Still, something about this rubs me the wrong way, and I think it’s the underlying assumption that the public sector is somehow preferable to, or more honorable than, the private sector, a premise I find somewhere between arguable and laughable.

    I am, I should note, a big fan of the Peace Corps. I also note that they don’t rely on conscription.

  4. Tatyana »

    8 July 2008 · 8:55 pm

    Oh, but a man who voluntarily p “provide affordable and high-quality child care to ease the burden on working families” can demand anything from the population!
    Just please explain to me what is it exactly he means when he talks about here key emphasis at early care and education for infants, which is essential for children to be ready to enter kindergarten?

  5. fillyjonk »

    9 July 2008 · 7:12 am

    The “100 hours per year” that is to be requested of college students makes me twitch more than a little bit. I have students who are working full time (or nearly so), trying to raise a family (single parents in some cases), AND attend school to improve their lot in life. I wonder where they’ll find time to fit in that 100 hours. Give up their 3 hours of sleep a night, I suppose….

    Volunteering is wonderful. Making it compulsory? Bad idea. It’s just going to lead to another bureaucracy and more hoops for people to have to jump through – where the privileged will find a way to evade the hoop, and the less-privileged will still have to deal with it.

  6. sya »

    9 July 2008 · 10:40 pm

    Compulsory community service–somehow, it doesn’t have the same sincerity as volunteerism. And as fillyjonk mentioned, I don’t see how some people can even fit this into their schedules. As an undergrad, I managed to squeeze in volunteer work, but nowadays, even if the day magically lengthened by several hours, I’d still be stuck in the lab.

  7. Tat »

    10 July 2008 · 9:55 am

    Compalsory community service is the same as 18.5% tips that were automatically added to my restaurant bill yesterday.

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