John Edwards signs pledge to expand national service

After a stop at a House Party in Dover, presidential hopeful John Edwards signed the Presidential Pledge to Expand National Service (pdf). Woohoo! (OTOH, John McCain declined to sign even while acknowledging that Americorps volunteers were “the best we ever had.” An action which makes obvious sense…wait, what?)

In short, the pledge promises to expand Americorps service positions by 100,000, to support policies that make it easier for folks to serve 4,000 hours (2 years) to national service, to promote service learning in schools, to support and expand the Peace Corps, and to increase service opportunities to seniors.

Read about this momentous event, and the tenacious work of ServeNext member Tate that it took to get it done, at the ServeNext blog, BlogNext.

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2 responses to “John Edwards signs pledge to expand national service

  1. Awesome!

    I definately applaud Americorps work and it’s volunteers.

  2. It’s hard to imagine a return to military conscription. It’s ineffective and opposed by the Pentagon. Could compulsory national service drive more recruits into the military? Could the military become alternative service to national service? This would be a bad idea. The United States “all volunteer army” is the most effective in the world. While the army is misused and overused by the present administration, reluctant recruits would seriously compromise our army’s effectiveness. Increasing wages and benefits would be the most effective way to improve military service.

    Compulsory national service is an unfair tax and an unfair limit on freedom. It is a tax-in-kind; in this case the tax is a particular kind of service. Tax-in-kind is an ancient system where taxes were paid in labor or goods. Such a tax is outmoded in modern democracies since taxation must have representation.

    A voluntary national service can make sense. It could teach valuable skills that could be used in the public or private sector. It could be used in times of recession to provide employment and inject capital into the economy.

    Some national service possibilities are exciting. We have many recent immigrants that are proficient in foreign languages and cultures. Why not hire and train these people as a diplomatic corp.? We need teacher. Why not hire and train people to become assistant teachers? Such a national service should pay competitive wages to retain and inspire individual to build a career.

    Fred Etcheverry

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