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U.S. | Government & Elections

Congressional Staffer asks: “Should we just do a test model for a few years?”
by Dwayne Hunn
Thursday Jan 17th, 2008 7:48 PM
People’s Lobby (PLI) citizen-initiated American World Service Corps (AWSC) Congressional Proposals proposes fielding 21 million American volunteers over the ensuing 27 years in such organizations as the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Habitat for Humanity, Head Start, Doctors Without Borders, Red Cross, International Rescue Committee, OxFam, Mercy Corps, and State Conservation Corps. http://www.WorldServiceCorps.us Should Congress introduce PLI’s robust AWSC answer or whittle the proposal down to a smaller model?

About two weeks ago, a congressional staffer, who is assembling a sponsorship report for her Senator, called asking if any other congressional staffers had suggested whether People’s Lobby American World Service Corps (AWSC) Congressional Proposals first be submitted as a model program limited to a few year trial.

The short answer is, “No.”

There was more, however, behind her question. Because our nation has become so deeply indebted, budgetary concerns might make passage of a limited, model AWSC program more doable.

If you have read and considered People’s Lobby’s citizen-initiated AWSC Congressional Proposals and noted its ten funding streams, I’d like to know how you would answer this staffer’s question. The key AWSC proposed bill is at
http://www.worldservicecorps.us/world%20service%20key%20proposal%202yr%20volunteer.htm

Here’s my initial response, which revolves around addressing increasingly crucial issues that America must face now, lest they grow into an crushing avalanche of problems.

1) World’s ugly view of America

America’s credibility and respect in the world is at an all-time low. Because we understood so little about the world, our nation stumbled into an Iraqi quagmire that has drained us of a trillion countable dollars and the uncountable richness of too many lost American and foreign lives.

To regain respect and credibility around the world we need more than:
• High minded sounding speeches.
• American diplomacy that fewer and fewer nations highly regard.
• A new president claiming his/her change in course or staying the course will rebuild our reputation, economic, and military strength.
• A relative handful of America do-gooders to stem and reduce the recruitment of American haters.

We need a peaceful, productive army of do-gooders working every day.

In these 21 nations, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Eritrea, United Arab Republic, Kuwait, Turkey, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Indonesia about 910 million mostly Muslims reside. How many Peace Corps volunteers are working among them winning hearts and minds and expanding their and our rational middle class?
About fifty.

In bringing enduring freedom to Iraq, 46 of every 100 Iraqis has either been killed, wounded, refugeed, or unemployed. Many hear of these blunders from friends, others just watch the news and then move toward becoming America haters. Such public policies do not build the stability that keeps Americans out of harms way.

The world has big problems with poverty, AIDS, genocides, global climate change… Deeply indebted America has big problems with a shrinking middle class that has increasing difficulties paying for higher education and building abiding skills. We need to again start taking giant leaps for mankind to address these problems.

How bad must it get before we operate with more than band-aids? How far must we fall behind in this deadly game before we move beyond laying down bunts and start hitting the long ball?

2) Looming Disasters

During an era when America was being tagged as a Nation of Sheep and Ugly Americans, JFK sensed the need to enter a New Frontier by enlisting the idealism of character rich Americans. He started the Peace Corps and wanted it to quickly grow to one million. With subsequent Congresses and Presidents lacking Kennedy’s vision, that cost effective, peaceful, productive army was lost in a Vietnam Quagmire. Following Vietnam, myopic political concerns about involving a substantial number of Americans in directly implementing healthy public policy in the real world, chopped the Peace Corps budget and spirit down to a meager do-good program. Almost 47 years later, America and the world benefits from having only about 175,000 Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.

Image how much safer today’s world would be had Kennedy’s goal of having a million PCVs serving within ten years of the Peace Corps 1961 birth. Image how much safer today’s world would be had 10-20+ million Returned Peace Corps Volunteers served by today, rather than about 175,000.

If charismatic, visionary leadership from the Executive Office, Congress, and/or the private sector educates and then asks Americans to serve, Americans will. They will begin rebuilding the world and America during a time of looming disasters, when skilled and committed volunteers are definitely needed.

3) How do we pay for the AWSC when we are broke?

In the key AWSC proposal, we have listed ten revenue streams to pay the estimated $700 Billion twenty-seven year cost of fielding twenty-one million AWSC volunteers at home or abroad. With enough public education and visionary leadership by opinion makers and elected leaders, just one of the two unorthodox funding streams in the AWSC proposal would fully fund the AWSC cost with no taxpayer burdens.

In the proposed AWSC legislation, this is the Forbes 2% Solution. In 2007, Forbes estimated that the accumulated wealth of the Forbes 400 Richest Americans had grown again to $1.54 Trillion. The poorest person on that list had $1.3 billion and some change to cover his earthly needs. Here are a few from that 2007 list, the percentage of their wealth given as charitable donations, and their net worth after their charitable donations.


%Age donated Net worth after donation
Bill Gates 42%, 59 billion.
Warren Buffett 8%, 52 billion.
Michael Dell 8%, 17.2 billion
Steven Ballmer 0.2%, 15.2 billion
Steve Jobs 0% 5.7 billion
T. Denny Sanford 5% 2.8 billion
George Soros 41% 8.8 billion
Ted Turner 39% 2.3 billion

On the 2004 Forbes 400, most had given 0-5% of their wealth to charities. If the 2007 Forbes Richest 400 Americans annually donated 1.65% of their accumulated wealth to the account escrowed to fund the cost of the AWSC, as called for in our proposed legislation, there would be no additional funds needed to send 21 million Americans into national and international service for 27 years.

So far, God does not let one, or even The 400, carry so much change onto celestial estates. So, why not do with all that loose change what a heavenly rich God would -- and take care of earthly needs?

4) How hard could it be for a million Americans a year to stand up?

Having a million Americans a year voluntarily serve at home or abroad in their choice of a wide array of do-good organizations would require inspiring about .4 (4/10th) of 1% of Americans aged 18-70+. Do we have enough visionary, charismatic leaders spread across America, in the Congress, and seeking the presidency to do that?

5) How bad must it get before we provide big solutions to huge, costly problems?

Headstart has only half the number of teachers it needs. College educations are becoming more expensive and less reachable for more and more low and middle class families. Katrina started reminding us that we need a ready force of volunteers to deal with increasing disasters.

Oceans away our lack of first hand experiences has us stumbling into bloody, costly international policies. Why? Because not enough Americans have had learned enough through serving in the world about the essentials needed to build world stability.

Implementing a robust AWSC addresses national and international needs. Rewarding Americans for their AWSC service by strengthening their and our nation’s educational, ownership, and medical needs will provide the first hand service learning that will immediately improve our understanding of world needs and public policy approaches to them.

The long answer to the staffer’s question is, “In a time where we need big changes, we ought to go for implementing a robust AWSC.”

A plurality of Americans knows that much is going seriously awry with America and the world. Most thinking Americans know that band-aids won’t fix the wounds, bunts won’t win today’s increasing deadly policy games. Americans are ready and wiling to build a robust and cost effective national service corps that puts Americans to work fixing moral, economic, and educational needs at home and abroad. They just need to understand how People’s Lobby AWSC Congressional Proposals would work, and they will support and send a million of our best resources into addressing problems at home and abroad.