To whom do I return my tax cut?
July 6, 2003 8:34 PM   Subscribe

A Flame That Must Not Die -- a David Gergen (US News and World Report) column on the gutting of Americorps. To whom do I return my tax cut?
posted by fpatrick (18 comments total)
You should hold on to your tax cut, then return it to the Democratic nominee next June.
posted by kfury at 9:00 PM on July 6, 2003

Ok, I make no claims about whether this source might be politically biased, however, the number tracks with several other sites that come up if you search for americorps cost per participant. (The numbers are somewhat old though, I'd be curious if they've improved.)This site points out that at least at one point, the average cost per participant was $26k to $32k (I'd lean towards the lower number, it's mentioned in most of the other sources). However, the cost was supposed to be less than $18k. In fact, there have been cases where it's exceeded $100k per participant (mentioned in that article, and I remember hearing about it back when it was first brought up). Now, maybe Americorps is really doing good things. But personally, I've felt for a long time that it needs to be reexamined and decided whether the money going into it is really being wisely spent. I was disappointed back when Bush proposed increasing the funding for it, because personally I felt it should have been killed off.

The GAO paper talking about some of the issues with Americorps makes for interesting reading too.
posted by piper28 at 9:15 PM on July 6, 2003

Just adds more evidence that a bureaucracy costs more than it's worth, even when it administers volunteers.
posted by mischief at 9:25 PM on July 6, 2003

To whom do I return my tax cut?

Cry me a fucking river. That's a bunch of pantywaist liberal nonsense. I'm glad its gone (if only so many other government waste programs would go the way of the buffalo as well), and I'm glad I got a tax cut. I spent my tax refund on cigarettes, beer, some roller hockey wheels, the Tron Special Edition DVD, tickets to Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, gas money, a radar detector, and Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Life is good, and the government can take my tax cut back when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

Donate some money to Habitat For Humanity, St. Vincent DePauls, or one of hundreds, nay thousands, of worthy charities across the country that do the same thing, and have been doing it for decades. That way, the odds are much better that your money won't be wasted.
posted by insomnyuk at 9:43 PM on July 6, 2003

I'm ambivalent. I've had friends who've had terrible experiences with Americorps and friends who've had wonderful experiences and think it may halt/reverse certain kinds of social collapse here in the states.
posted by namespan at 10:27 PM on July 6, 2003

Interesting you mention Habitat for Humanity, insomnyuk as AmeriCorp, at least in our town, had strong ties to the housing authority and did much in neighborhood reclamation.
posted by Samizdata at 10:37 PM on July 6, 2003

Surely, a president who so nobly called them to service won't let this flame die. Surely.

Where's this guy been for the last three years?
posted by goethean at 9:55 AM on July 7, 2003

David Skinner's Slate article How Leslie Lenkowsky sank national service does a nice job of explaining how AmeriCorp got all buggered up. It appears its mismanagement was designed in. Pity.
posted by mojohand at 9:55 AM on July 7, 2003

You return it to me. I will do good things with it.
posted by ph00dz at 11:03 AM on July 7, 2003

I was a VISTA volunteer back in 1999 in central Maine. It was a life-changing experience and worth every penny of the salary that I could have been making at a "real" job. My VISTA colleagues were generally smart, highly motivated, and making a real difference in the communities in which they were serving. I would assume that other Americorps volunteers display the same attributes.

The cost-per-participant figures cited above are utterly meaningless unless they are compared to the value that Americorps volunteers are providing to the communities they serve. So what if it costs $26K per volunteer (assuming it really does) if those volunteers are providing $50K per volunteer in value to the community? Not to mention the fact that the volunteers themselves are likely to become more socially conscious and civic-minded as a result--another valuable benefit of the program. Of course that's probably the very reason Republicans don't like the program: they don't like the idea of imbuing young citizens with empathy and understanding for the disadvantaged since such people are much more likely to vote against them.
posted by boltman at 12:12 PM on July 7, 2003

I was surprised to find out when I moved to DC that Americorps still existed, I thought as fucked up as it was it had been scrapped years ago, who knew? Please, insomnyuk, leave the "liberal" out of "pantywaist liberal nonsense," some of us liberals think the money could go to better organized causes too!
posted by Pollomacho at 12:15 PM on July 7, 2003

Sorry, I just get carried away sometimes.
posted by insomnyuk at 1:00 PM on July 7, 2003

I spent my tax refund on cigarettes, beer, some roller hockey wheels, the Tron Special Edition DVD, tickets to Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, gas money, a radar detector, and Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Life is good....

Fuckin' A well said. And did you know that shutting down these goddamned pantywaisted child immunization programs (or maybe Head Start), we could get y'all a keg o' Coors and a cheap hooker for a Saturday night? Woohooo! Life is good....

(I hear tell rich American$ are doing something similar with their cut of the, tax refund....but it kinda sounded more like they're stocking complete wine cellars and hiring Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears as "personal trainers." Oh well, they don't call it "trickle down" economics for nothing! And apparently they don't call "consumerism" the highest American value for nothing, either!)
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 1:01 PM on July 7, 2003

John Maynard Keynes would be proud.
posted by insomnyuk at 2:39 PM on July 7, 2003

Maynard James Keenan wouldn't be.
posted by jragon at 3:04 PM on July 7, 2003

...Congress need only pass a supplemental spending bill of $200 million...

Geez. Oh, if THAT'S all that's holding up this program...

No thanks - I'll take my tax cut and spend it on something that I deem worthwhile - which Americorps isn't.

But seriously - if young people want to serve their country, let 'em do it the old-fashioned way: join the military.
posted by davidmsc at 5:20 PM on July 7, 2003

But...but... Duhbya promised to preserve and grow AmeriCorps! He spoke glowingly of the organization!

Is this yet another brazen lie to record for posterity?
posted by nofundy at 5:20 AM on July 8, 2003

Is this yet another brazen lie to record for posterity?

Just throw it on the pile with the others.
posted by Dirjy at 12:02 PM on July 8, 2003

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