Monday, June 25, 2007

Chris Dodd comes out for forced labor

From Chris Dodd's American Community Initiative*:

Mandate Community Service as a Requirement for Recipients of Social Security and Medicaid. Under the Dodd plan, every senior-citizen in America will be required to perform 100 hours of community-based service prior to receiving government aid. Community service will give every senior in America an opportunity to gain new knowledge and skills while contributing to their communities and their own sense of pride. Service dollars will be provided to states based on the over 65 population with additional dollars for technical assistance and program administration. States and cities will have the flexibility to tailor their individual programs and requirements to meet their community’s immediate needs – all programs will be locally designed. The program is only mandatory when fully funded by the federal government. Participation in this fully funded program is a condition of receiving federal aid.

Summer of Service for Retired Seniors. By reaching the elderly when they become idle, the Dodd plan will foster a powerful connection to community, transforming a time when retirees too often become isolated into a positive, defining life experience. Summer of Service creates a competitive grant program that enables states and localities to offer pensioners an opportunity to participate in a structured community service program over the summer months. Through Summer of Service, the elderly perform socially valuable, full-time community service for eight weeks over the summer in exchange for a small stipend plus a $500 good neighbor award for each Summer of Service for up to four summers. Summer of Service employs service-learning models to teach civic participation skills, help our elders see themselves as resources to their communities, expand social opportunities and discourage “feelings of uselessness” while providing tangible benefits to the communities in which projects are performed. Encouraging all retirees, regardless of age, income, or disability, to engage in community service, Summer of Service will become a rite of passage for every person in America.

*These plans always sound great once you're too old to be subject to them yourself.

There's a big difference between volunteerism and forced labor.

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