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Promoting Statism in the Name of Service

With all the focus and attention on the TARP, the so-called “stimulus” bill, the nationalization of huge chunks of our economy and the various issues economic – lost in the weeds have been a host of destructive “programs” being developed and passed by the Obama-Democrat machine.

Right now on the floor of the United States Senate is one of the most disturbing pieces of legislation I have seen in a long time. HR 1388, the “Serve America Act” is cloaked in feel-good rhetoric and supposedly noble goals, but it is nothing more than another Washington power-grab – this time targeted at non-profits and education – and ultimately at indoctrinating a whole new generation of Obamanistas into forsaking individual liberty and free will for the Statist worldview.

The bill is far too onerous to detail here – and given Republican support for it, it would seem somewhat futile. But, the legislation is far too destructive not to spend some time on, and one of the few remaining patriots in Washington – Jim DeMint (R-SC) – gave an excellent speech yesterday explaining the bill’s misguided approach and his opposition.

And here are just a few of the lowlights in the legislation:

1. The bill will substantially increase the size and reach of an existing federal government program;
2. The bill will burden taxpayers with more than 5 billion tax dollars at a time when we should be cutting back, not spending more;
3. The bill will steer funding and volunteers for public service away from churches, individuals, neighbors, and others who would like to lend a helping hand and toward organizations selected by bureaucrats;
4. The bill is full of vague language and has insufficient safeguards to prevent left-wing special interest groups from using tax dollars to advance their agenda in the name of “community service;”
5. The bill risks politicizing charity and community service by funneling funds and volunteers toward the preferred organizations picked by ideologues;
6. The first 25% of this bill is really education legislation, and should be in an education bill at the state level; and
7. The bill will compound the disincentives created by new limits on federal tax deductions for charitable giving, thereby decreasing the role of families, churches and other local organizations in their communities.

When you look at the details – one realizes that it’s far worse than even that… more along the lines of full-scale indoctrination camps toward Statism. The legislation will, in many circumstances, force our children to participate in charitable activity as part of school – and that activity may well be chosen by or approved by a bureaucrat. The bill causes a federally chartered, Washington-based institution to, essentially, pick priorities and winners and losers in the charitable universe – undoubtedly putting many charities at a significant disadvantage…

None of this even considers the lack of Constitutional basis for such a massive federal intervention into local charities and volunteerism… but when does that ever stop anyone in Washington? And when coupled with the soon-to-be-reduced lower tax deductions for charities, the Obama-Democrat machine is massively shifting the focus of charity from the individual to the State.

As usual, your typical group of unprincipled, spineless Republicans is supporting it – and it’s hard not to forecast swelling numbers given the total eclipse of fortitude among Senate Republicans and the lack of direction from their leadership. Already co-sponsoring the Senate companion (S.277) are Senators Gregg, McCain, Hatch, Cochran, Wicker (MS pork alert!!), and Snowe. And Senator Isakson waxed on about its virtues on the Senate Floor just yesterday… hardly surprising, unfortunately.

This is wrong-headed legislation and no Republican should support it. That a Senator is “well intended” is irrelevant and insulting. These people supposedly are grown-ups… entrusted with our nation’s financial well-being and bound by an oath to preserve and protect the Constitution. The “power of 41” the Wall Street Journal lauds in today’s editorial regarding card-check is hardly very powerful when it only manages to stop something that would empower union thugs through the patently offensive elimination of the right to have a secret ballot, but cannot stop a massive, pork-laden, non-stimulating “stimulus” bill and the take-over of American business… and now American charity… by the federal government.

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