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Some LA House members make Americorps mistake

Louisiana Republicans were doing pretty well in terms of voting in the people’s interest until encountering H.R. 1388 last week where they extended one of the biggest boondoggle giveaways in the federal government.

Appropriately called the GIVE Act, it vastly expands the Corporation for National Service (“Americorps”) giveaway program, where government pays “volunteers” to do whatever it thinks ought to be done, a make-work strategy that harkens back to the failed idea of the New Deal that government can tax and spend America’s way to prosperity, which in this case not only tremendously wastes money but crowds out genuine volunteerism. Regrettably, the bill advanced from the House on Wednesday even as the majority of Republicans voted against it.

Never one to shy away from throwing good (borrowed) money after bad, Democrat Rep. Charlie Melancon, the self-proclaimed thereby hypocritical fiscal conservative, voted for it as did all but one Democrat. But while Republican Reps. Steve Scalise, John Fleming, and Rodney Alexander did the right thing and voted nay, their party cohorts Anh “Joseph” Cao and Bill Cassidy lined up with the big spenders on this one.

Cao perhaps almost may be forgiven on this one. New Orleans has seen a tremendous influx of Americorps activities so his district probably by far receives more per capita spending this way than any other, and, further, the dependency Americorps fosters concerning citizens to their government fits in so well to New Orleans’ culture of dependency and attitude of entitlement that he might be lynched had he voted against it.

As flimsy as this excuse is for voting against both principle and the best interests of the American people as a whole, it’s much better than Cassidy’s. His explanation for a yea vote was that some of the resources would go to the nonprofit Teach for America program which has provided some teachers in his district and has been shown to do a superior job of teacher preparation.

However, there’s nothing in the bill that designates funds directly to the organization. In fact, in 2007 the organization received less than $10 million of its $75 million in donations from the federal government – less than any of individuals, corporations, or foundations. This means while such monies could be missed, they would not significantly impact the organization which has been in rapid growth mode. Either Cassidy sold out on this, or he didn’t do his homework if this is his rationale for voting for a potential tripling of this wasteful government spending.

In these times where reckless spending and the specter of bigger and bigger government threaten a prolonged recession in the near term and prosperity for future generations, all Louisiana members of Congress (but especially Cassidy and Melancon) need to pay attention and understand the damage they do to the country by approving such nonsense.

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