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American World Service Corps Proposals will stand among our most significant legislation
At the June 3rd Democratic Presidential Debates, Gravel, Kucinich, and Dodd supported national service and echoed points out of People’s Lobby’s (PLI) citizen-initiated American World Service Corps (AWSC) Congressional Proposals. If you are concerned about our ability to handle man-made and natural disasters and our image, ask your congressional reps to introduce and cosponsor them, and ask all the presidential candidates whether they support PLI’s American World Service Corps Congressional Proposals.
“The American World Service Corps Congressional Proposals will stand among our most significant legislation in decades…”
Over a hundred and fifty bipartisan congressional offices have offered positive responses to Peoples Lobby’s citizen-initiated American World Service Corps (AWSC) Congressional Proposals. The staffs of every announced presidential candidate of both parties has heard or read about them.
During the public questioning section of the New Hampshire Presidential Debates of June 3, 2007, Richardson, Edwards, and Biden spoke of how we had lost and must regain our “moral authority.” Shortly after those lost moral authority statements, eighteen-year-old high school graduate, Tim O’Connor, who had recently spent a year in Germany, asked if we should have a year of mandatory service, like they do in Germany.
Gravel, Kucinich, and Dodd answered with sound bites that could have been lifted directly from People's Lobby's AWSC proposed and written legislation. (The key WSC proposed bill is at http://www.worldservicecorps.us/world%20service%20backup%20proposal%201yr%20national%20service.htm )
Ironically, those to whom Wolf Blitzer posed the national service question had some extra knowledge on the subject. Gravel worked with Peoples Lobby http://www.PeoplesLobby.us for years and months ago had responded enthusiastically on camera regarding the AWSC. Kucinich pushes the Department of Peace proposal, which, if established, should immediately push to field a one million strong American World Service Corps to build world peace. Dodd has served as a Peace Corps volunteer, which is one of many integral organizations under the AWSC umbrella, and knows first hand the diplomatic and stability benefits that come from face to face, grassroots development work.
So what are the American World Service Corps (AWSC) Congressional Proposals?
If enacted in this Congress and presented to Americans by visionary leaders, each year for the next seven years approximately 140,000 Americans would voluntarily choose to serve in their choice of the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Habitat for Humanity, Head Start, Doctors Without Borders, Red Cross, International Rescue Committee, OxFam, Mercy Corps, State Conservation Corps, etc. By the seventh year, one million American World Service Corps members of all ages, or less than .6th of 1% of those aged 20-60+, would annually serve for a year or two at home or abroad in already functioning governmental and non-governmental organizations. After 20 years, Congress could consider sun setting the AWSC legislation.
In an era when Americans want to peacefully and productively erase the Ugly American image spreading around the world, reduce terrorist recruitment, ameliorate poverty, and help stem global climate change, the cost effective financial incentives used to attract volunteers would also strengthen the nation. Upon completion of service, volunteers would receive their choice of:
• Two years of community plus two years of state college tuition, approximately $16,000 and,
• An additional cash readjustment allowance of $7,500, equivalent to what a Peace Corps volunteer receives.
• Equivalent educational loan pay off or contribution to community education scholarship fund, or
• Equivalent investment in one’s Medical, IRA Accounts, as a home down payment or as tax credits.
All of the above would be transferable to family or friends.
To all those who nervously envision America’s future, if we continue cascading down our recent course, the why behind quickly fielding this robust AWSC team is obvious.
For too long we have implemented policies reflecting little understanding of world realities, needs, or cultures. World opinion has overwhelmingly opposed those simplistic policies. Now an increasingly growing segment of the world is shifting gears into retaliating against Americans and others for those myopic policies.
Too often poking people in the eyes often drives even the once good and forgiving to poke back.
About 15% of Americans take out passports. Subtracting military, corporate, and Club Medish trips leaves very few Americans carrying a backpack into the world to work on, learn, understand, and address its needs.
Increasingly, we have directors of governmental agencies who know little about American or world needs and how to respond to them in times of crisis.
Had the AWSC been running for years when Katrina struck, tens of thousands of AWSC volunteers working under reinvigorated Americorps, Teacher Corps, Headstart, Habitat, Red Cross, etc., programs would have been doing what needed doing the day after Katrina. Families would not have been broken up. Money would not have been wasted on fluff. AWSC volunteers would have immediately begun rebuilding life and community, the old-fashioned American barn-raising way.
So how do we pay for a million Americans a year addressing world and domestic needs?
This question often comes from those who see no problem with allocating $809 billion of budgeted and supplemental costs in 2007 into an Iraq War, which when hidden costs are added balloons to around a trillion dollars. (Sources: AWSC costs and revenues. http://www.worldservicecorps.us/revsawsccosts.xls )
That $809 billion leaves about 100+ billion in change to cover the building of friendships, productivity, and stability that 27 years of fielding a robust AWSC would do.
Some of the revenue sources that would fund the AWSC, whose work would dramatically reduce the money spent on warring and the blood it takes from our warriors:
• Surtax on richest 1% of American taxpayers, or 1.34 million households.
• Tax upon death on large estates, ranging from .5% - 5%.
• Non-tax paying corporations’ contributions.
• Nominal import levies on developed nation with significant trade imbalances.
• Corporate foundation grants.
• Excess War Profits Tax
• Lobbied donations from Forbes Richest 400.
Details at Financing AWSC web page http://www.worldservicecorps.us/financing_awsc.htm )
Although Donations from the Forbes Richest 400, is listed last, it is potentially the most powerful and innovative funding source, which will properly test the inspirational, leadership, and fundraising skills of want-to-be political leaders.
Today our nation elects representatives under a disastrous, special interest laden campaign fund raising system. Our candidates lobby the richest Americans to finance their campaigns. In return, they often abide by the Golden Rule, allowing those with the gold to make the rules.
Recently Gates and Buffet, and earlier individuals like Ted Turner, dedicated noticeable portions of their wealth to addressing world needs. After that, few of the Forbes 400, the poorest of which is a billionaire, have set aside more than a few percents of their wealth to make the world safer for their and our children or grandchildren.
(Source Charity & Forbes 400 9-24-04 http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/invest/forbes/P129955.asp )
Source: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2006/oct2006/forb-o16.shtml Forbes/Slate
For more: http://www.slate.com/id/2136385/ )
The day after election, too many representatives immediately begin lobbying the rich for money. So, as our elected reps, why shouldn’t we ask them to lobby the mega-rich on behalf of an AWSC program that benefits all America, as well as the world?
Call, write, and ask each of the Democratic, Republican, and Independent candidates for president and all offices:
• Will you cosponsor Peoples Lobby citizen-initiated American World Service Corps (AWSC) Congressional Proposals? Then ask:
• Will you lobby America’s richest to underwrite the cost of fielding a robust AWSC so that no taxes on Middle America are needed?
America is being sucked deeper into a quagmire that bleeds Americans, our military, and our economy with the bloody philosophy of an eye for an eye. We need to return to climbing the hilltop we once aspired to where we, “Do unto others as you would have done onto yourselves.”
We should heed not only Eisenhower’s admonition that “Every gun that is made… is a theft from those who hunger…” but also follow his service learned, real world insight that:
Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration, and co-operation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.
We should reinstitute the visionary leadership set by John Kennedy:
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country.
My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
We should remember the words of Kennedy’s favorite poet, Edwin Markham:
Why build these cities beautiful,
If man unbuilded goes.
In vain we build the world,
Unless the builder also grows.
And remember the words of the Peace Corps first director, Sarge Shriver:
If the Pentagon’s map is more urgent, the Peace Corp’s is, perhaps, in the long run the most important.
What happens in India, Africa, and South America -- whether the nations where the Peace Corps works succeed or not -- may well determine the balance of peace.
You can’t help make the AWSC a reality. Visit the web site. Sign the petition. Ask your rep to cosponsor the proposals. Call 202-225-3121. Lobby and educate on its behalf. Offer to help.
Sarge Shriver, Peace Corps 1st Director