Is compulsory national service on the horizon?

Both John McCain and Barack Obama spoke about introducing some form of “national service” if elected President. That prospect is increased now that President-elect Obama has chosen Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff in his incoming administration. Emanuel is co-author of a book, The Plan, which calls for, among other things, compulsory service for all Americans ages 18 to 25.

Talk about any form of compulsory “national service” should be troubling to all liberty-loving Americans. Recall that it was Milton Friedman who helped convince President Nixon to end the military draft. Both Friedman and Gen. William Westmoreland were on a panel examining whether to abolish the draft. At one point, Westmoreland declared that he did not want to command an army of “mercenaries.”

Friedman shot back, ‘General, would you rather command an army of slaves?’ Friedman later recalled, “He drew himself up and said, ‘I don’t like to hear our patriotic draftees referred to as slaves.’ I replied, ‘I don’t like to hear our patriotic volunteers referred to as mercenaries.'”

Friedman won that debate; the draft was abolished, and has not returned. It should not return, even with a softer face, in an Obama administration.


Steve Buckstein is founder and senior policy analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market research center.

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  • billy

    WOW, our first black president is considering re-introducing slavery.

    • Anonymous

      It would be about time… I get sick looking at these “metrosexual” idiots that can’t keep their pants around there waist… a little military service would do them well…

  • dean

    Rahm Emmanual won;t be deciding on policy. He will be carrying out policy, and I have not heard Obama say anything about compultory service. I have heard him say he wants to offer paying college tuition in return for service.

    But as a freedom loving liberal, I’m not opposed to a 1 year service as part of the price of citizenship.

    And to the Westmorland-Friedman debate…I think neither “won.” What happened was that Nixon concluded that ending the draft was the best way to get rid of the masses of anti-war protestors outside his bedroom window, and he turned out to be right even to this day.

    • John Fairplay

      “I have heard him say he wants to offer paying college tuition in return for service.”

      This is correct. Obama’s offering $40 an hour – or $83,000 at an annual rate – for college students to “volunteer.” Democrats sure have a weird idea of what the word “volunteer” means.

      • dean

        John…I don;t know the “rate of return” for community serice Obama’s plan offers. I know for Americorps participants 9a Clinton program) the return is nowhere near $40 and hour.

        But even if it were equal to $40 an hour…is that a bad thing? Wouldn’t that be a helluva incentive for young people to get with the program and get themselves through college free of debt? Wouldn’t having more educated people around be good for all of us? For one, educated people are not commiting many crimes. And for 2 they end up with good incomes sufficient to care for themselvess and family with no outside help. 3, they are the ones who will innovate, invent, start new businesses, and propel society forward. Or are you arguing that ignorance really is bliss?

  • Dan E.

    I have mixed feelings on the subject. I think national service is a good thing. Israel’s national service is born out of a true security need, and I admire that everyone serves and has that valuable experience. Ours would be quite different, I suspect, and much broader in scope than just military service. My concerns arise when it comes to determining where people serve, and should my tax dollars go to promoting or staffing an organization that is going to benefit a narrow political agenda regardless of whose it is.

    That said, I think our citizens take a tremendous amount for granted and our appreciation of what citizenship of this country actually means is woefully shallow. Thomas Paine said it best, “That which we achieve too easily, we esteem too lightly.” He was talking about achieving freedom, but maintaining that freedom is no less lofty a cause.

  • Shirley

    2 year compulsory service to our nation. Ages 18-20
    Positives: nationalism, patriotism, everyone speaks the same language, and learns to respect other people regardless of color or belief. Also our kids get away from Mom and Dad, learn to respect themselves respect the nation, and to depend on themselves. Every adult would have a basis of communicate with every other adult. (yeah rednecks and hippies could have a beer together and say “when I was in…” Then, they get out knowing what hard work is, and hopefully run to the nearest college with a plan of action.
    We get lower labor rates to fix bridges and roads, plant trees and build levies.
    (no I don’t believe the kids should go to war-or overseas at all, but yeah basic training and hard work at least 500 miles from home. “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” Why not mix black white hispanic, inner-city and farm kids together?

    • Steve Buckstein

      Shirley, when you say “I don’t believe the kids should go to war-or overseas at all” you need to recognize that the people with the power to make such decisions won’t always share your values.

      To paraphrase John Locke, beware of good princes, for they set bad precedents.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    Federal Taxes – around 30%

    SS and Medicare – 12.5% ( I pay both sides, well, everyone really does, but that’s another matter )

    State taxes – 9%

    Total – 50% ( sorry, after 50% I get depressed so I call it 50%, that’s why I don’t include property taxes, my liquor bill is high enough as it is )

    Since I am 47 now I would like to know when my compulsory service, which is currently 6 months out of the year at 50% taxes, will end?

    In addition, since my children are expected to pay an 80 – 90 % tax rate at current projections according to the recent comptroller generals tour, could we not say compulsory service is already with us?

    Mr. President, you speak about service, but at 50% taxes I am already half way to slavery.

    • Martha

      Hear, hear. I think each of us should get to decide for our self what the price of citizenship is instead of any one half of us deciding it for all the rest. My price of citizenship will be that I fight every day against the fascism that the American socialists like to call “progress”. Idiots. You say you hate corporatism out of one side of the mouth and then vote into government policies that can only result in it. Liberals can go to FEMA camps too ya know.

      • Rupert in Springfield

        Well, if nothing else, there is an up note, Obama is starting to fulfill his central theme: “Change we can believe in”. With the appointment of Rahm Emanuel, a board member of Freddie Mac according to ABC news, we now have the start of not getting to the bottom of the financial scandal. I believed with a Democratic victory, there would be quick covering of any government involvement in the largest rip off of the American people ever. I believed that the solution would be greater government co-opting of the private sector, which we are seeing with the bailout and will certainly continue under Obama. Rather than an examination of government involvement in the mortgage business which in large part got us into this mess, we will likely see an expansion of these disastrous policies. That change has come with Emanuel, and I certainly believed it would happen. Hallelujah.

        I know that the hypnotized never lie….Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

  • Anonymous

    You would think that paying taxes is enough to pay to live in our so called free country.

    I always ask my children and their friends how a high school can mandate a mandatory volunteer program for a grade. I remind them if it is mandatory for them to do it, your not a volunteer. If you don’t get paid for the mandatory job or project, doesn’t that make you a slave? I tell them to bring that up to their teachers and have them explain it.

    Compulsory “national service” is slavery plain and simple. It would be intresting to see the list of left leaning groups that will be on the list for the students to serve their sentaces.

    • dean

      I think the 4 posts directly above me go a long way towards explaining the deep hole “conservatism” finds itself in. This “United States of Me” rhetoric is at a point of diminishing returns, and you are rapidly ceding patriotism (other than warfare) to the left.

      It used to be that the idea of serving your community and nation was neither liberal nor conservative. We are mired in 2 wars being fought by volunteers while the rest of us were told to go shopping, and that has not worked out all that well even for the economy. A 1 year compulsory service is not the same as volunteerism. It is the opposite. Think of it another way. Society pays for every kid to get 12 years of schooling. It also offers some help, not enough these days but some, with college expenses.

      So in return for this, everyone who goes to public school puts in a year at some service to the community or nation at low wage (Americorps level). Cleaning bed pans at nursing homes, fixing leaky roofs, planting trees along streams, or teaching kids to read are not “conservative” or “liberal” causes. They are national and community causes. I thought conservatives were agianst people getting something for nothing. Well 1 year service is giving something for something.

      • Steve Buckstein

        Dean, up until now I thought the liberal argument was that “society pays for every kid to get 12 years of schooling” and then when those kids grow up they’re taxed to pay for the next batch of kids going through the public school system… and so on. Now, apparently that isn’t enough; you want a year of compulsory service too. Sounds like the cost of public education (in terms of money and time) is about to take a giant leap upward.

        • dean

          Steve…I dod not know it was strictly a “liberal” argument that says public schools are a public virture. Given that only some 25% of Americans call ourselves “liberal,” I would think public schools don’t have enough support to keep on going.

          The hypothetical argument I was making would not necessarily result in greater funding for schools. It made a case for more direct payback….i.e. service….from the students themselves to the community that paid for their education. Yes…as they become taxpayers they would in turn support new students, who might also do community service. No such thing as a free lunch right?

          • Steve Buckstein

            Dean, I didn’t say that it was “strictly” a liberal argument. And yes, your argument would result in a greater cost for public schools, if not directly greater funding. Even if compulsory service isn’t paid, it is costing the “volunteers” their time. But in all likelihood, “volunteers” will be paid from tax revenue, and under your argument that becomes an added cost of public education.

  • Dan E.

    I was afraid this day would come…but I agree with Dean. Taxes are not the end of our obligation to this country. Yes, I think taxes are too high, and I’m not pleased how they are prioritized…but we need to open our eyes to what it takes to make this county strong. For conservatives, it needs to be more than just wirting a check – to charity or government – and expecting someone else to do the actual work. Imagine the image repair that could be done if republicans were the ones rolling up their sleeves in the community and picking up the litter, or planting the trees…just because it made it a better place.

  • Bob Clark

    On the one hand, I tend to harken back to Nazi Germany, and the creation of a separate militaristic organization called the SS. On the other hand, there is one bright spot this time around in that Obama didn’t kill anyone to get to the top.

    I would bet this program ends up at most a token program. (1) Many will not follow because they would rather pursue other personal interests then wallow in some worker social program. (2) There isn’t much money for such a big new program. (3) Any hint sons and daughters might be involuntarily called into actual military service would endanger Obama’s re-election. So, while there’s a lot to fear about Obama’s idea, which is actually a Senator Rangle idea, I am hoping it ends up nothing more than tokenism. Because it truly is a bad idea for the risk it runs in morphing into a separate military wing ala SS or being an unnecessary make work corp.

    • dean

      Bob, the US had a military draft during the Civil War and for most of the 20th century. Somehow we avoided becoming Nazis. And to clarify, the original post here is about an idea Rahm Emanual expressed. Here is what Obama has proposed on his campaign web site:

      1) Expansion of Peace Corps (volunteer)
      2) Expansion of Americorps (they currently turn away tens of thousands of volunteers). He would ad programs to help care for verans, to work on alternative energy projects, to tutor in schools, and to assist with Homeland Security.
      3) An up to 17 week “service’learning” program for college students,
      4) An expanded “senior corps” program to enlist retiring boomers
      5) A 50 hour a year service program for high school and middle school students
      6) A 100 hour service for $4000 tuition tax credit program
      7) A larger military (but still all volunteer)

      What terrible…un-American…Nazi-like proposals these are!

  • HapyPacy

    And guess which programs will get the federal funding for payment for service….the likes of ACORN of course! Not only will private union employee wages go to support their select Democrat causes, but now our tax dollars will be used to pay for Democrat “community service”, i.e. political activism for their own cause. Danger, Will Robinson!

  • John in Oregon

    I was wondering when this would be raised as a serious discussion issue. Its one of four initiatives I expect Obama to pursue out of the gate. This and two others, card check and CTO, I have spoken of in other thread posts.

    A relevant side trip is necessary. When I was growing up a lot of years ago, often asked was why Johnny can’t read? I was taught to “sight read”, the latest education fad. The current school fad is version 8.9.4 “whole word” reading.

    I learned to read in spite of the school. But only because I was interested in science and fiction, and because I spent the 2 hours waiting for the bus ride home at the public library across the park from the school. Many days I missed the bus and had to walk home, I could do that then, it was years ago.

    As a kid of 12 I soon graduated to the “adult” library. I was then confronted with words. Like toggle, electron, resister, universe, and condenser. Words I could not understand. With the help of my mother I was introduced to the “magic” book. A dictionary. With that book I slowly puzzled out the rules of the phonetic alphabet and I learned to read. I still can’t spell worth a tinkers damn, but I learned to read.

    The Public schools are much worse now. In the last 30 years our school system has collapsed in upon its self. As we have spent more and more money on education the schools have intruded more and more into our children’s personal lives while the failure to learn has accelerated.

    Nowhere has the failure been greater than in our inner cities. Parents in our inner cities know it, they chafe against it. But the hands on the levers of power only grow stronger. Don’t believe it? Then explain how the failure of Jefferson here in Portland is allowed to go on, year after year, decade after decade?

    There is a video clip that has managed to elude the legacy media embargo. It’s from a Finish documentary about the US elections.

    In the clip Diantha Harris, uses her classroom as a propaganda vehicle to shove her politics down the children’s throats. In the clip the teacher bullies Cathy the daughter of a solder stationed at Fort Bragg. Watch the teacher mock the girl and her father. Watch the little girl’s eyes well up in tears as Diantha systematically destroys Cathys love for her father. Is this the kind of education reform we want?

    *Teacher bullies soldier’s daughter*
    Partial transcript:

    *Harris:* We want to talk about the presidential election. I want to axe you, who are you pulling for? Raise your hand.
    *Student 1:* Obama.
    *Harris:* You pullin for Obama. Who you pullin for?
    *Student 2:* Obama.
    *Harris:* Any of you pullin for John McCain? That’s fine, say him as well.
    *Student 3:* Obama.
    *Student 4:* Obama.
    [Cathy, the daughter of an American soldier answers]
    *Cathy:* McCain.
    *Harris:* John, OH LORD, John McCain.
    OH JESUS, John McCain.
    Ok, now I wanna axe you somethin.
    Why are you pullin for John McCain? It’s ok, but why are you pullin for John McCain?
    *Cathy:* I thinks it’s because my parents are going for him too.
    *Harris:* Ok, your parents are going for him. Why are you pullin for Ba-RACK. Barack.
    *Student 1:* I just want a black president sometimes.
    *Harris:* Ok, you want a black president.
    *Student 2:* The reason why I want Barack Obama is because he’s making good changes in the good country and stuff like that.
    *Harris:* So, he’s making good changes for our country. Now can you tell me just a little bit more, like what type of changes?
    *Student 2:* Like not having big fights between Iraq and having soldiers killed.
    *Harris:* So in other words, Barack is going to end that war in Iraq. What do you all know about that war in Iraq?
    [Harris addresses Kathy]
    *Harris:* TALK, cause yo daddy in the military. TALK. It’s a senseless war! And by the way, Cathy, the person that yo’re picking for president said that our troops could stay in Iraq for another hundred years if they need to!
    [Camera pans to Cathy, in near tears.]
    *Harris:* So that means that yo daddy could stay in the military for another hundred years!

    Shirley commented about the “[p]ositives: nationalism, patriotism, everyone speaks the same language,” to which I would add, knowledge of our government and history, appreciation of liberty, love of freedom, and the self sufficiency that comes from being able to read, write, and calculate.

    Those are admirable goals.

    Then again, pardon me, I thought those were the goals of the Government operated “Public School” system.

    Why do we now have to back stop a school system that teaches red light – green light, no one is judged, everyone gets a trophy, and no effort is just as good as hard work?

    So pardon me if I have my doubts when it comes to UVPS. Universal Voluntary Public Service. Now isnt that nicely untidy language? Newspeak, language manipulation, surrender of language to the goals.

    Newspeak, the changing of the meaning of words. During the just concluded campaign, economic policies and not the candidate were compared to Socialism. The candidate responded, they call me socialist because I share my toys in kindergarten.

    No Mr. Candidate that’s not socialism. Freely choosing to share toys is charity conducted under personal liberty. The teacher confiscating your toys to give to another is Socialism conducted by authority. Charity is one family members free choice to share with a brother or aunt living in poverty. Socialism is the Government forcibly extracting money from someone else to share with your brother or aunt living in poverty.

    Universal Voluntary Public Service. Universal means everyone. Voluntary is not everyone. Two mutually exclusives presented as a unity. What the hell is voluntary about public service for everyone?

    Implying that extracting money using state power somehow increases the liberty of charity is beyond mere Leftism. Calling universal service voluntary exceeds Liberalism. “It is entry into that dead realm of Newspeak in which language is pureed into nonsense, and then nonsense is presented as argument.”

    Yet we read above that some “have not heard Obama say anything about compultory (sic) service.”

    There does seem to be a lot of that going around. Not hearing Obama comment about the need to break free of the constitutional restraints of the founding fathers. Not hearing Obama comment about his plan to bankrupt the coal energy sector. Not hearing about compulsory voluntary service.

    Well there is no excuse on that later point. I have raised UVPS modeled on Public Allies here several times and the response has been ….. Nothing.

    Now I do realize for some the gain is short term goals, Government control of energy to “save the planet”. Government control of private land to “save the environment”. For me the real question is how much is liberty worth. For many apparently, not that much.

    In the end I only know. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make a jackass open its eyes.

    • dean

      So John…based on your own definition, Social Security and Medicare are socialism since they are both funded by taking money from working people and employers and sending it to non working people. Why don’t you, Palin, conservatives, and the Republican party run in 2012 on a platform of abolishing SSI and Medicare and converting these to charity systems?

      That way Obama gets a 2nd term with an even larger mandate.

      I would offer that in this case the jackass is the conservative movement that can’t seem to think in gray terms…only black or white. Freedom or slavery….capitalism or socialism….deregulation or strangulation. We live in a gray world that you insist must be black or white.

  • Jerry

    The only thing wrong with mandatory service is that it would not be fair if some of the people “drafted” into the service had a hard time working on things. Where is the compassion for these people? How can we force them to do anything? Sad. Very sad.

  • John in Oregon

    Last first Dean > *only black or white. Freedom or slavery….capitalism or socialism….deregulation or strangulation. We live in a gray world that you insist must be black or white.*

    I do believe there are lines not to be crossed.

    You believe only Government can make decisions and have stated so repeatedly. You deny individuals the right to fail. You have never used the word liberty. What you have really said is you are happy with the government running everyone’s lives because the current government dictates are consistent with how you demand others live.

    Who exactly is black and white?

    And will White change to Black when Government dictates become counter to yours?

    Dean said > *I have not heard Obama say anything about compultory (sic) service.*

    Update. On Obamas web page change.gov were found the following:

    “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.”

    *”Require 100 Hours of Service in College:* Obama and Biden will establish a new American Opportunity Tax Credit that is worth $4,000 a year in exchange for 100 hours of public service a year.”

    Oh wait, they are now being expunged.

    Dean > *So John…based on your own definition, Social Security and Medicare are socialism since they are both funded by taking money from working people and employers and sending it to non working people.*

    It’s interesting you chose SSI as your example. That is the fourth issue I expect Obama to move on.

    It is not my definition of socialism. It is THE definition. You don’t get to engage in newspeek, the twisting of language. By your above twisted use of language, insurance, voluntary pooling of risk, is socialism.

    But to answer your question. SSI was intended to be a retirement savings program. People would contribute until retirement then withdraw upon retirement.

    So how does this work out for Bill Smith the average guy earning $40,000? Over 49 years Bill is taxed $294,000 for SSI and retires with $1,094 per month. With an average 15 years of retired life Bill will withdrew $196,920 leaving $97,080. What happens to that $97,080? Its _not_ _his_ _money_, the courts have said so. It’s subjected to a 100% death tax.

    What if Bill put that same money in CDs at only 6%. Over 49 years that money would produce $1,736,015 in an account that Bill owns, it is Bills money. If Bill withdraws only the interest that gives him $5,900 a month retirement and $1,736,015 at death. This is Bills money but the Government takes 50% death tax [Obama 08] leaving Bills estate $868,007 to be used as Bill wished.

    But like that’s not new is it? Not new at all. Everyone knows SSI is a rip off, it’s _not_ _your_ _money_. So what is Social Security really?

    First and foremost it pays past obligations from current income. That’s a Ponzi scheme. If you or I did that we would be in jail. The Government reassumes us that SSI is safe until at least 2050. The surplus is in T bills in a lock box. From an accounting prospective that’s true. A lot of T bills in the lock box.

    Congress was happy with all those T bills. All that surplus Social Security money going into the treasury and Congress spent it. Now political reality comes home to roost. Currently the social security tax brings in enough money to pay current benefits. But like all Ponzi schemes soon the social security tax revenue won’t cover benefits. Then those T bills start to come due. Congress will have to take tax money to repay the T bills. That’s when Social Security becomes politically bankrupt.

    I can just hear you ask now so when is that?

    The most recent numbers were that the Social Security tax would no longer cover payments some time around 2010 – 2012. With falling employment that’s more likely now coming down toward 2009. Thus the urgency and the Democrats are already moving.

    Yet for the last decade the left has scapegoated any change to Social Security as an attack on retired seniors. Any change will bite the Liberal as well. The liberals have solved that road block and the Democrats are on the job.

    *House Democrats Contemplate Abolishing 401(k)*
    October 16, 2008

    “The House Labor Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee are currently preparing a new system of Government guaranteed retirement accounts to which all workers would be obliged to contribute.”

    These new Government Retirement Accounts (GRA) would be part of the social security administration. Under this program all workers would be required to invest 5 percent of their pay into a guaranteed retirement account administered by the Social Security Administration.

    This effectively solves the problem. The retirement tax is now 15.3% (SSI and Medicare) plus 5% Government Retirement Accounts which brings the tax to 20.3%. With the funds commingled paying benefits from existing revenue is no longer a problem. Remember all that money is _not_ _your_ _money._ It’s also raising taxes into a recession, just as Hoover did, but pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

    But what about the existing 401(k), IRA money? That is _your_ _money._ $5 Trillion of _your_ _money_ so long as you don’t sell in a down market. What happens to that $5 Trillion of _your_ _money?_

    Well Congress could let you keep it. But its 5 Trillion Dollars. Wall Street is a failure, don’t you know. The director of the Congressional Budget Office, Peter Orszag, testified that some $2 trillion in retirement savings [your money] has been lost over the past 15 months. (It’s only lost until the markets recover but that should be ignored.) After 200 years, building the greatest nation on earth, capitalism is a failure don’t you know. So why not convert the private savings accounts to a Government Retirement Account where it’s guaranteed and its _not_ _your_ _money?_ It’s a 100 % death tax, but its _not_ _your_ _money._ Remember its 5 Trillion Dollars can Congress possibly resist?

    Be patient there is only one last thread to unravel.

    That thread is what happens if they confiscate, oh sorry, convert your private savings money to Government Retirement Accounts. Dumping a sell of 5 Trillion Dollars will push the market down. A Dow of 3,000 to 4,000 wouldn’t be unexpected. Just another reminder that Wall Street is a failure, don’t you know. Capitalism is a failure don’t you know. You should be happy the Government salvaged your money at 20 cents on the dollar.

    When 5 Trillion Dollars of investment capitol is sucked out of the market, what then? The recession collapses into a depression and Capitalism is a failure don’t you know.

    • Steve Buckstein

      John, thanks for catching the “change” in language on the Obama transition web site. For those who didn’t see the original version, just check the cached version of the change.gov/americaserves site to see that “require” was before the descriptions of middle school, high school and college community service in the November 7th language. Today, “require” is gone, replaced by “setting a goal.”

      • dean

        Steve…I would think you would support that change no?

        • Steve Buckstein

          Dean, I’m troubled that the first impulse of the president elect (or at least of his transition team) was to put forth required service. I wonder why they changed it just days later. I await the official explanation.

          • dean

            Can’t help you there since I’m not part of the transition. But I prefer an administration that corrects its errors before they are implemented to one that stays the course at all costs.

          • Steve Buckstein

            I hope you’re right Dean, that it was just an error.

          • Rebecca

            Ok all of you are complaining about mandatory service and how it is slavery, Just so you all know I am a fromer Naval Personal , Did you also know that the US is about the only Country that does not require some kind of 4 year or life service to the country? That out of the way here are my opions
            1.) we should not treat the Peace Corps on the same level as people in the Military they do not risk life and limb for the country
            2.) Taxes all suck and the poor are taxed more then those who make 200k per year thats wrong but life is not fair and the governmnet seems to think that they dont need to pay the same amount as some who make only 30 k per year
            3.) I did not nor would I ever have or ever will vote for John McCain I have my resones why.
            4.) No one likes change. Yes even me at times
            All of you please ask your selves this question; Where would we be today with out military forces to protect us? No I do not support Iraq its just Vietnam in sheeps clothing. But seriously where would we be?
            Now for the education asspect that has also been talked about. I hvae college debt mostly becasue I got a late start in life. I currently am enrolled in a University I go to classes with students that are 10 or more years younger then me and I see the education diffence in just a decade. the schools are failing the future generations becasue nobody want to pay taxes on anyhting. I will say it here federal taxes need to be at 10% across the board this means all citizens pay taxes on all monies earned in the tax year there is no letting peple off just becasue you are the riches person in the US he would have to pay 10% too. Yes I now school district get monies from proerty Taxes but appernetly that is not working well but they also get funding 6 k per student from the fed govnt oh and 7 k if the student is in specail programs. Schools that are failing count on reciving these children so they can get more money I will say this our children are not commdities to be bought and sold we need to put them first get them educated and find out why drop out rates are so high we need to intill the importance of education in our children nad that needs to come from everone since it really does take a village to raise a child

    • dean

      John…first first:

      1) I don’t think I have ever said “only Government can make decisions”. For the record, I think some societal functions are best performed by government, some by a mix of government and private sector, some by the private sector regulated by government, and some by the private sector with no government interference at all. Exactly which falls under what category is why we have a constitution and politics. it ain’t just up to my whims alone.

      I am most definitely not “happy with the government running everyone’s lives.” I think the government should stay out of people’s bedrooms, wombs, communications (absent legal cause to search), associations, drug of choice, sexual orientation, assisted suicide, and a whole long list of other things.

      I’ve said before I don’t object to compulsory community service. Obviously the details of how this is done are important, but I think our nation functions best when we all have skin in the game. 100 hours in exchange for $4K tuition sounds like a pretty good deal all around.

      John…I agree that Social Security IS SOCIALISM. Since I think some socialism is a good thing, this does not bother me. I don’t know where you got the impression that SSI was ever a “retirement savings” program. It was never any such thing, and was not designed for this purpose. It is a SOCIAL INSURANCE program. Every worker pays into a common pool. All get to take from the pool others pay into later on. Bush attempted to convert it to a personal savings program and was stopped from doing so…for good reasons it turns out if you look at what the private financial sector managed to do with people’s IRAs. Maybe they will recover someday, maybe not. And some day may be too far away for folks in their 70s and 80s.

      And by the way had THE GOVERNMENT failed to bail out wall street, many IRAs would have disappeared altogether since they are not federally insured. Poof….gone in a flash. Loaned away to unrecoverable assets. Like when my grandfather lost his life savings, $9K, when the bank closed in 1932, before the days of Roosevelt and federal deposit insurance…more SOCIALISM.

      Yes….from time to time SSI needs to be adjusted to respond to changing demographics. This has been done in the past and will be done in the future. But converting it to an IRA program is not gonna happen under a Democratic Administration and Congress.

      However…ADDING a mandatory IRA is a good idea. This has been talked about for a long time. I’m all for it, especially if it is graduated, like the income tax.

      I think you are paranoid about government “abolishing” private IRAs. Obama has made no such proposal, and I’ll bet you any amount you can afford he does not do so.

      And John…I have to say your response to my post made my point. You took my gray areas and converted them to black and white without blinking an eye. Congratulations.

  • John in Oregon

    Thanks Steve. Its clear the Obama staff is very much in the mindset of erasing the inconvenient past. And why not with the legacy media serving as a backstop.

    As much as Obama is a man without an appearent history he has been remarkably unguarded at other times. Thus the comments about bankrupting the coal industry, breaking free of the Constitutional constraints of the Founding Fathers, and modeling UVPS on Public Allies.

    IBD put it this way.

    “Barack Obama was a founding member of the board of Public Allies in 1992, resigning before his wife became executive director of the Chicago chapter of Public Allies in 1993. Obama plans to use the nonprofit group, which he features on his campaign Web site, as the model for a national service corps. He calls his Orwellian program, “Universal Voluntary Public Service.”

    “The pitch Public Allies makes on its Web site doesn’t seem all that radical. It promises to place young adults… in paid one-year “community leadership”… They’ll also be required to attend weekly training workshops and three retreats.

    “But its real mission is to radicalize American youth and use them to bring about “social change” through threats, pressure, tension and confrontation — “Our alumni are more than twice as likely as 18-34 year olds to . . . engage in protest activities,” Public Allies boasts in a document found with its tax filings. It has already deployed an army of 2,200 community organizers like Obama to agitate for “justice” and “equality” in his hometown of Chicago and other U.S. cities, including Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and Washington. “I get to practice being an activist,” and get paid for it, gushed Cincinnati recruit Amy Vincent.”

    • dean

      “A man without an apparent history.” Really? He has written 2 memoirs that are quite detailed about his history John. What….he needed to be a Truman Show character to satisfy you?

      “2200 community organizers LIKE Obama”? What….tall, skinny, mixed race, calm, collected, high intellect Harvard grads that advocate for justice and equality? I’m all for it. Lets make more of them as quick as we can.

  • John in Oregon

    Dean you said > *”A man without an apparent history.” Really?*

    Perhaps, just perhaps, we can gain some insight from the Washington Post’s ombudsperson, Deborah Howell. After checking the Post’s coverage Howell admitted the Post was highly biased in favor of Obama. More important in that admission was the following statement in discussing the Post’s failure to provide adequate coverage Howell said;

    “But Obama deserved tougher scrutiny than he got, especially of his undergraduate years, his start in Chicago and his relationship with Antoin ‘Tony’ Rezko, who was convicted this year of influence-peddling in Chicago. The Post did nothing on Obama’s acknowledged drug use as a teenager.

    > *”2200 community organizers LIKE Obama”? What….tall, skinny, mixed race, calm… that advocate for justice and equality?*

    The words used by IBD, many of them from Public Allies documents, radicalize American youth, threats, pressure, tension and confrontation. The Obamas want to create a boot camp for radicals who hate the military — and stick American taxpayers with the bill.

    Something like the Mount Hope church in Lansing Michigan church invaded and taken over?

    • dean

      Paranoia John. I can never prove paranoia to you, but your characterization of who and what Obama is just does not jive with his actual career, Obama had Rezko…McCain had Keeting, Bush had Kenny Boy and Abramoff. I mean politics, dirty money and shady characters inevitably cross paths. Sometimes they cross lines and careers are ended, as with Ted Stevens.

      To your larger point….I don’t know if the Post’s coverage was favorable to Obama ir not. Their editorial endorsement of him was pretty luke warm. But what is the difference? How many people in Ohio read the Post? Privately owned media have no obligation to generate 50% favorable and unfavorable coverage on competing candidates. Maybe they liked Obama better simply because he WAS the better candidate. Didn’t the Post endorse Bush in 04? Didn’t they print idiotic stories about Kerry? Where does it end John?

  • John in Oregon

    Its amazing that you minimize the Washington Posts own admission of its biased coverage. Particularly the admission that Obama “deserved tougher scrutiny than he got”. The media never delved into much of what Obama did.

    Well not all of the Legacy Media was negligent.

    But still we know little of who and what Obama is as we know little of his actual career. On this particular point, Universal Voluntary Public Service, IBD took the Obama campaign reference and researched the organizations mentioned by Obama’s campaign.

    They found that Barack Obama was a founding member of the board of Public Allies and his wife, Michelle Obama became executive director of the Chicago chapter of Public Allies. After investigating Public Allies IBD came to the conclusions that you called paranoid.

    Since no other Legacy Media even commented on UVPS there isnt anything to contest the IBD conclusion.

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