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Maybe it's just a myth

I hear that once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away, people often offered to help other people in need. And when they did so, they did so without expectation of being paid. And they were known as volunteers.

And then government got involved, and suddenly "volunteering" turned into a big government program that needed an extra $100,000,000 just so that 20,000 more people could work for free.

It would be surreal -- if it weren't for the fact that these sorts of paradoxes are to be expected from government. The issue here is that what the program calls "volunteers" are, in fact, something else entirely, as their website makes clear:

Eligibility and Benefits
AmeriCorps is open to U.S. citizens, nationals, or lawful permanent residents aged 17 or older. Members serve full or part time over a 10- to 12-month period. Full-time members receive an education award of $4,725 to pay for college, graduate school, or to pay back student loans. They also receive health insurance, training, and student loan deferment. About half of the members also receive a modest annual living allowance of about $9,300, along with health insurance. Members who serve part-time receive a partial education award.
Hmm. So that can add up to $14,000 in cash, plus health insurance. So why not call them "poorly paid employees," rather than "volunteers"? Besides the fact that it would be harder to recruit workers that way, I mean?


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 19, 2003 2:17 PM.

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