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America the Dependent
From AmeriCorps to FoodStampCorps.


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Michelle Malkin

So much for the new era of fiscal responsibility. The federal government’s dependency drones have been spared the chopping block. After vowing to eliminate funding for President Obama’s bloated $6 billion AmeriCorps social-justice army, House Republicans retreated — and will shrink the AmeriCorps budget by a minuscule 6.7 percent.

Politicians originally sold AmeriCorps as an alternative to big government — a program to “renew the ethic of civic responsibility and the spirit of community throughout the United States.” With bipartisan support, the program has morphed into an all-purpose progressive slush fund. Instead of reining in the national-service boondoggle, Washington has turned taxpayer-subsidized helping hands into a legion of Nanny State handout helpers. Goodbye, AmeriCorps. Hello, FoodStampCorps.

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Yes, across the Internet, the feds are recruiting AmeriCorps VISTA (“Volunteers in Service to America”) workers to apply for jobs as publicists for the welfare state. Their mission: to sign up as many people to federal food-stamp rolls as possible. Because, you know, the record-breaking 12 million that have been added since Obama took office is apparently not good enough.

Here’s a typical job ad in Boston:

AMERICORPS VISTA: FOOD STAMP COORDINATOR (INTERNSHIP) Through this project, the Elderly Commission will be able to provide information, assistance and support to senior citizens of Boston in applying for food stamps. Develop a full knowledge of the Food Stamp program and application process. Assist seniors in senior housing and community centers to fill out Food Stamp applications; assist seniors with gathering necessary proofs together for applications; follow up with the Department of Transitional Assistance to ensure seniors receive awarded benefits. Recruit volunteers to be trained on the application of the Food Stamp program.

In New York, Philadelphia, and a total of 30 sites across the country, AmeriCorps and the Department of Agriculture are funding the “National Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps” to “increase access to food stamps.”

National Affairs managing editor Meghan Clyne reports that the administration is roping in left-wing churches to aggressively promote food stamps. With institutional support from first lady Michelle Obama, the FoodStampCorps will train church members to apply for food stamps after religious services and

“encourage eligible families to enroll their children in (government-subsidized) school meal programs”; if organizations operate day-care or after-school programs, they are advised to pursue reimbursement for meals and snacks through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (a federally funded, state-administered welfare program). Places of worship are asked to serve as feeding sites for the Summer Food Service Program — another federally funded, state-run welfare project.

With billions poured into the welfare state at the local, state, and national levels and enrollment at an all-time high, why should taxpayers be underwriting make-work jobs for Democratic flacks-in-training? Shouldn’t it already be the job of the vast network of existing social-services and welfare agencies to publicize the program and assist food-stamp applicants?



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