Thursday, September 18, 2008

Obama and McCain on Public Service

Wall Street Journal op-ed comparing Senators Obama and McCain's views on public service:
Mr. McCain certainly uses his bully pulpit to proselytize Americans about public service. But he more or less stops there, even repeatedly cautioning during the Columbia forum against federalizing public service, although that doesn't mean that he wouldn't throw taxpayer money at some of his pet service projects. However, his Web site offers nothing near what Mr. Obama is proposing.

Mr. Obama has laid out a 10-page vision statement that includes virtually every program proposed by the left and the right in recent memory and then some. President Bush's controversial faith-based initiative? He'll keep it. President Kennedy's Peace Corps? He'll double it. Even Mr. McCain's seven-year-old plan to raise a domestic civilian force to fight terrorism and triple enrollment in AmeriCorps gets a plug.
By Mr. Obama's account, he will make federal education aid conditional on schools requiring that high-school and even middle-school students perform 50 hours of service each year. He will also offer college students $4,000 every year for doing 100 hours of public service. That works out to $40 an hour -- a deal that only the very wealthy could refuse. (The Obama campaign puts the price tag for this alone at $10 billion.) He promises to provide older Americans who perform civic service with "additional income security, including assistance with retirement and family-related costs, and continuation of health-care coverage." But a government that links benefits to service can take away benefits for nonservice. ...

Read the op-ed here. So Senator Obama would pay college kids $40 an hour for activities that almost certainly aren't worth $40 an hour, given that most college graduates won't make that kind of cash right out of college. Assuming a 40-hour work week and a 50-week work year (with 2 weeks paid vacation), a $40 an hour pay rate equates to about an $80,000 a year salary. Very few college grads with liberal arts majors can expect to make that kind of dough right out of college. Heck, very few college engineering and science graduates can expect to pull down that kind of salary right out of college. Yet, under the Obama plan, college students (not even graduates) would get paid that kind of money to "community organize" and perform other such "public service" activities.

Meanwhile, those college kids who would otherwise have spent that time working at private businesses getting experience that might actually help them after graduation will likely instead be hard pressed to pass up those $40 an hour public service "opportunities".

As I noted back in July in this post, Senator Obama's grandiose plans for making America a better, safer, more prosperous place don't seem to include private enterprise. You know, the folks who actually produce the country's wealth and pay its taxes. Evidently, Senator Obama's plan for our future prosperity, and that of our children, involves turning America into a nation of government-funded "community organizers". After all, why "volunteer" for free, when the government will pay you to do so? And at lavish rates, paid for by the already beleaguered American taxpayer. You think the economy's bad now, just wait till President Obama gets his socialist, community-organizin' hands on it.

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