Why don't conservatives like AmeriCorps?

February 25, 2011

With a government shutdown looming due to federal-budget
deadlock, House Republicans are proposing a stopgap measure--not a compromise
but a short-term enactment of the massive budget cuts passed last week by the
House but dismissed by the Democratic-controlled Senate and White House.

Along with hurting economic growth--that's according to Goldman Sachs, not some liberal think
tank--this proposal would make deep cuts to a wide variety of programs and
eliminate some altogether. It would mean the end of AmeriCorps, which played a
huge role in, among other things, Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. Here's
an anecdote
from AmeriCorps alumnus Nathan Rothstein, who served in
New Orleans:

When we had a spare moment, we would walk down to
Frenchmen street or go to neighborhood meetings in the evening where we met
other young AmeriCorps volunteers working in relief organizations around the
city. It became clear that AmeriCorps volunteers led the majority of the
volunteer coordination in the city. Anyone who picked up a hammer or painted a
wall in the past five years in New Orleans was most likely managed by an
AmeriCorps volunteer.

According to a recent study conducted by the Corporation
for National and Community Service, "more than 110,000 national service
volunteers have contributed more than 9.6 million hours to the relief,
recovery, and rebuilding effort. [AmeriCorps] also have coordinated an
additional 648,000 community volunteers, a major share of the overall volunteer

Church groups, individual families and others from across
the political spectrum trekked down to the Gulf Coast to help out, and
AmeriCorps headed up much of the difficult and crucial work of coordinating
volunteers to put their service to good use. Does this sound like something we
should cut?

Meanwhile, religious right leaders are pushing the deficit-hawk gospel, lending some
(dubious) biblical support to their spending-cut-fanatic conservative brethren.
Tony Perkins even lists AmeriCorps funding among several
"taxpayer subsidies to the Left." If paying young people poverty wages to serve
others (often by corralling other workers who aren't paid at all) is a leftist
thing, who counts as a compassionate conservative anymore?


the answer is out there...

given the title of your post, a person unfamiliar with Steve Thorngate or this site would assume the post would offer some possible answers and maybe a link or two to conservatives writings on the topic.

The rest of us have lowered our expectations.

...and not in your reply

I think there should be a rule that you have to include CONTENT when you COMMENT. Please, share an answer if you have one. Thorngate is right - Americorps is so non-partisan and unambiguously helpful that it is absolutely bewildering and completely mystifying why anyone of any ideology would be against it. Your reply obviously does not further the conversation an iota.


You propose a rule and then immediately break it, all the while hiding in anonymity. Where is the "CONTENT" in your "COMMENT?"

Steven has never been non-partisan and has never apologized for it--nor should he. He can be as biased and opinionated as anyone else, especially in a personal opinion column. Helpful? Well, most of his posts consist of political philosophy with no solution other than "someone else's taxes ought to pay for this." This post is no exception, and the AmeriCorps quote claiming all of the credit for hammers and paint brushes reflects the views of a thoroughly myopic, self-absorbed member of the AmeriCorps team. I have personally travelled to New Orleans. On my own dime. To do work for someone else's recovery. Completely unrelated to AmeriCorps. And I know many, many more who have done the same. Have you? Has Steven?

Quit whining about taxes and budgets. Get up and get busy. In a Christian century, Christians serve.

Late to the party...

I know I'm a bit late to the party here, but as someone very much involved in the New Orleans recovery and familiar with the topography of the various recovery organizations, I have a few thoughts.

If you personally traveled to New Orleans and helped rebuild someone's home, and also know many more people who have done the same...chances are, it was not "completely unrelated to Americorps."

Nearly all of the major rebuilding/recovery organizations here are staffed by Americorps volunteers. Rebuilding Together, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, St. Bernard Project, and Habitat for Humanity rely on Americorps for their volunteer coordinators, crew leaders, development staff, and other vital jobs. The work of these organizations would not be possible without it.

So while you might not have been in Americorps, chances are that the person who oversaw your work or even got you in there to volunteer in the first place was.

Why don't they?

Perhaps Americorps shows one of the many government programs that work well, which government-haters can't allow. . . Perhaps Americorps fills its volunteers heads with radical notions that there are nobler values than simply making and hoarding wealth. . . Perhaps Americorps shows its volunteers that our nation's poorest and most vulnerable citizens aren't lazy freeloaders, but are our brothers and sisters. . . Perhaps Americorps (though greatly expanded by President George W. Bush) - being started during the Clinton years, would provide so much good to our nation, that conservatives would rather kill it than allow Clinton to get any credit. . . Perhaps Americorps volunteers come to realize than money spent on their small program can have a greater impact for good than our immoral,bloated defense budget ever could. . .I can think of lots of reasons.

As a conservative who

As a conservative who supports programs like AmeriCorp, I believe conservatives who have thought out their positions would discuss things like needing to balance the budget without raising taxes and might consider our defense budget one of the items we need to keep at a high level due to the unrest around the world. Why is it that neither side seems willing to actually carry on a dialogue about the issues but must in the end resort to name-calling and character assassination? While I do not often agree with Steve Thorngate's opinions, I do appreciate his willingness to be informed about the topics he writes about.


I vividly remember the initial debates on Americorps, and Senator Grassley's vehement opposition to "paying people for volunteering." Otherwise, of course, only the wealthy and leisured can volunteer! My son participated in the "Summer of Service" that kicked off Americorps. It was one of his young life's best experiences. His college also gave tuition grants to Americorps participants, including those in the Summer of Service. That was a bad thing?
My German friends tell me that when it was proposed there to change to an all-volunteer military service, the social agencies vehemently objected, because they depend so much on the young men who do alternative service. Similarly, we depend on Americorps.


The reason why some informed conservatives are suspicious of AmeriCorps stems from the fact that we now have a "dictator-minded" entity in the WH.

Obama has been documented on video claiming that our country needs a "civilian army, just as strong, just as well funded" as our U.S. Military.

He has tried to utilize AmeriCorps as a means to this end, as he has with other organizations such as ACORN, SEIU, etc. Obama uses these organizations as his "foot soldiers", as we are witnessing in Madison, WI. Union thugs from around the country have been sent into WI by Obama himself to incite violent rhetoric and cause trouble.

Obama's plans to expand AmeriCorps were not for the humanitarian efforts you might think. His plans are never implemented for the reasons he tells us they are being implemented for (i.e. ObamaCare).

For those of you who doubt me, you should read Saul Alinsky's book: "Rules For Radicals". Once you understand the "bible of the Left", you will understand why AmeriCorps under Obama is equivalent to the "brown shirts" under Adolf Hitler. Keep in mind, this book by Alinsky was dedicated to LUCIFER! Yes, THE Lucifer! Most of the folks in Obama's circle are sworn disciples of Alinsky.


I've done tons of research on Obama and his ilk for my internet radio show. If you'd like to get informed and know the truth, you can visit my site:

Well, if anyone wants to hear

Well, if anyone wants to hear logic, don't listen to the above comment. First of all, AmeriCorps has been around for over fifty years. It is a volunteer-based workforce that provides tutoring and community relief efforts to America's impoverished. There is a mix of conservatives and democrats in the Americorps program, and I am one of them.

Second, you obviously didn't do your homework. Saul Alinsky did not write about inciting revolution, creating violence, or discriminating against any group. He wrote about community organizing efforts aimed at building movements such as the racial equality movement that Dr. King was a part of.

Obama is not the president who entered the U.S. into two wars over oil killing my friends and my brothers. You have no clue what fear and war is like, nor what it means to call someone Hitler. My grandfather fought in World War II, and would roll over in his grave to hear your comments.

To Anonymous

You obviously have not read "Rules For Radicals", my dear. I suggest you read it before commenting on this subject. Yes, I DID do my homework. I also have a degree in German and am quite versed in Hitler and the Nazi Regime. So, it sounds like you are the one who didn't do their homework.

Your comment about Martin Luther King is bogus as well. His efforts were aimed at racial equality but King happened to be a Republican...he did not trust the Dems. In fact, King was called the "N" word by Lyndon B. Johnson, and JFK only passed the Civil Rights Bill when pressured by the public...he voted against it twice before finally passing it as Pres.

King was a Christian...Alinksy was an atheist Marxist. That it a FACT. So, I suggest you stop drinking the kool-aid and do your own research. Alinksy's goals are shared by Frances Fox Piven (Cloward & Piven) and the goal was to "overwhelm the system". To mention MLK in the same sentence as these Marxists is to desecrate his memory!

Print Friendly and PDF

Email this page