(2nd Update) Memo to Obama: Forced Giving Isn’t Actually “Giving”

One more item on the list of terrible Obama policies flying under the radar right now, the “GIVE” Act which is rather disturbing if you break it down. “GIVE” stands for Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act which is chock full of things that fly in the face of voluntarily giving time and/or money.

Michelle Malkin blows the lid off the boondoggle:

Maybe it’s just me, but I find federal legislation titled “The GIVE Act” and “The SERVE Act” downright creepy. Even more troubling: The $6 billion price tag on these bipartisan bills to expand government-funded national service efforts. Volunteerism is a wonderful thing, which is why millions of Americans do it every day without a cent of taxpayer money. But the volunteerism packages on the Hill are less about promoting effective charity than about creating make-work, permanent bureaucracies, and left-wing slush funds.

The House passed the “Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act” – or the GIVE Act – last week. The Senate took up the companion “SERVE Act” Tuesday afternoon. According to a Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Senate bill, S. 277, the bill would cost “$418 million in 2010 and about $5.7 billion over the 2010-2014 period.” And like most federal programs, these would be sure to grow over time. The bills reauthorize the Clinton-era Americorps boondoggle program and an older law, the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973.

The programs have already been allocated $1.1 billion for fiscal 2009, including $200 million from the porkulus package signed into law last month. In addition to recruiting up to 250,000 enrollees in AmeriCorps, the GIVE/SERVE bills would create new little armies of government volunteers, including a Clean Energy Corps, Education Corps, Healthy Futures Corps, Veterans Service Corps, and and expanded National Civilian Community Corps for disaster relief and energy conservation. And that’s not all. Spending would include new funds for:

*Foster Grandparent Program ($115 million);

*Learn and Serve America. ($97 million);

*Retired and Senior Volunteer Program ($70 million);

*Senior Companion Program ($55 million);

*$12 million for each of fiscal years 2010 through 2014 for “the Silver Scholarships and Encore Fellowships programs;”

*$10 million a year from 2010-2014 for a new “Volunteers for Prosperity” program at USAID to “award grants to fund opportunities for volunteering internationally

in coordination with eligible organizations; and

*Social Innovation Fund and Volunteer Generation Fund-$50 million in 2010; $60 million in 2011; $70 million in 2012; $80 million in 2013; and $100 million in 2014.

“Social Innovation Fund?” If that sounds familiar, it should. I reported last fall on the Democratic Party platform’s push to fund a “Social Investment Fund Network” that would reward “social entrepreneurs and leading nonprofit organizations” and “support results-oriented innovators.” It is essentially a special taxpayer-funded pipeline for radical liberal groups backed by billionaire George Soros that masquerade as public-interest do-gooders.

Especially troublesome to parents’ groups concerned about compulsory volunteerism requirements is a provision in the House version, directing Congress to explore “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 and overcome civic challenges by bringing together people from diverse economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.”

Those who have watched AmeriCorps from its inception are all-too-familiar with how government voluntarism programs have been used for propaganda and political purposes. AmeriCorps “volunteers” have been put to work lobbying against the voter-approved three-strikes anti-crime initiative in California and protesting Republican political events while working for the already heavily-tax-subsidized liberal advocacy group ACORN.

Lets all have a flashback to the good ‘ole days following the socialist victory in November 2008.

The “GIVE” Act seems to resemble something which became a controverisal policy shortly after Obama’s election victory when everyone began exploring CHANGE.gov, the administration’s transition website.

We reported on the issue back on November 7th, 2008:

Many people have been pouring over the President-elect Obama transition team website, located at CHANGE.gov, and have been finding some inconsistencies in the hastily assembled programs. The first and foremost seems to be the “America Serves” plan, I’ll explain below.

Here’s the page on change.gov which describes the plan:

America Serves

“When you choose to serve — whether it’s your nation, your community or simply your neighborhood — you are connected to that fundamental American ideal that we want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness not just for ourselves, but for all Americans. That’s why it’s called the American dream.”

The Obama Administration will call on Americans to serve in order to meet the nation’s challenges. President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in underserved schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps. Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year. Obama will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start.

I commend any president calling on Americans to give time to community service. I wish President Bush had done more of that following 9/11. However, President-elect Obama seems to take it a step further. Leaders should inspire people to volunteer.

However, the first quote discusses people who “choose” to serve the nation. The paragraph which describes the plan then discusses “requirements” of serving in community service.

How does a “choice” to serve square with forcing high school students to serve? That’s not volunteerism, that’s indentured servitude when the government not simply compels, but requires you to serve.

It should be noted that once this text was discovered on the CHANGE.gov website, it was altered to make it sound more like true volunteerism instead of an Obama community organizing army.

Well fast-forward to today and we’re debating the “GIVE” Act which is damaging to free speech and equally as offensive in the way it attempts to open the door to forced community service.

Here’s what Section 6104 of the “GIVE” Act describes:

Section 6104 of The Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act requires that a commission be established to investigate, “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 and overcome civic challenges by bringing together people from diverse economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.”

They want to determine the best way to require government-forced community service on every high school student. There is nothing “giving” about that, the government is taking people’s time by force and making them participate in fraudulent groups like ACORN among others.

What’s more alarming is the provision in the “GIVE” Act which would prohibit “volunteers” (read forced government labor) from participating in protests.

Examiner.com explains:

Perhaps one of the key reasons there were so many votes against this supposedly good act was the little amendment buried down as the 12th Amendment to the act. Remember it is the little invasions to our liberties that open cracks for increased federal power and decreased freedom. “Amendment to prohibit organizations from attempting to influence legislation; organize or engage in protests, petitions, boycotts, or strikes; and assist, promote, or deter union organizing.” Those in support of this legislation will argue this amendment is limited in scope and is not meant to interfere with the rights of citizens to protest, petition, boycott, or strike in resistance to government proposed laws.

However, the people associated through service under the GIVE Act are considered volunteers, still free citizens, yet it will be unlawful for them to take part in any protests against any legislation. This is as close to a sedition act, a violation of 1st Amendment rights, as has been proposed in recent history. A basic right as a part of our natural, inalienable rights, is to resist government. Our founders not only knew it was a right but it was a responsibility. This legislation begins to break that down significantly.

Is this what Obama wants? To force people into government service and then strip their rights to demonstrate against the very government forcing them to volunteer?

This is getting pretty sick in my opinion.

When you force people to “volunteer,” they’re not volunteering. Am I the only one who finds this offensive and insane?



An amendment was introduced on the floor of the Senate this afternoon by Viter (R-La) to HR 1388, the bill being discussed here.  The admendment blocked releasing any funds to ACORN or its affiliates.

On a vote along party lines, the Democrats have shot down the amendment.  They say it okie dokie for the taxpayers to continue funding federally indicted ACORN and its affiliates.

2nd Update (Nate)

Michelle Malkin was on Glenn Beck today discussing the GIVE Act: