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AmeriCorps: Charity by government


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editorial-charity-by-governmentWashington Times:

Charity begins at home, sure enough, but some people think it can flower only from Washington. President Obama will be joined by Bill Clinton at the White House on Friday to celebrate AmeriCorps, the embodiment of volunteerism that isn’t really voluntary.


Mr. Clinton came up with a scheme 20 years ago to pay young people between $5,000 and $10,000 to devote a year to “community service.” He’ll be on hand to swear in the program’s newest inductees. George W. Bush, another AmeriCorps fan, will participate via video message.


Volunteerism is certainly worth celebrating, but not the way AmeriCorps practices it. On his 19th-century tour through America, the French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville marveled at the willingness of neighbors to pitch in and help one another when a neighbor needed it.


For more than two centuries, charities, churches, neighborhood groups and civic organizations have fed the hungry, housed the homeless, and helped those they barely knew to find jobs, clothes, friendships and fresh starts. The only reward expected was a smile, a hearty thanks and the reassurance that they wouldn’t be alone when they found themselves in need.Scissors-32x32.png

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