TIME magazine Managing Editor Richard Stengel announced that the magazine is helping to lead a major push to make national service a priority in Washington. They are targeting to enact legislation by September 11, 2009.
They hope “to demonstrate the impact that service has — and could have — upon our country and the power of citizens to create large-scale change.” The organization’s long-term goal is to “establish service as a universal American ethic, providing opportunities for Americans to serve at every life stage to address critical issues facing our country.”
Come early next year, the group hopes that the passage of a “new and comprehensive national service act” will be a hallmark of the early days of an Obama or McCain administration. Though the legislation has yet to be drafted, Atwood said it is likely to include increased funding for AmeriCorps programs and more than 3,000 non-profit organizations, public agencies and faith-based organizations.
One of Stengel’s other anti-liberty ideas is a national-service “baby bond,” $5,000 that the federal government would invest in a child’s name at birth that would mature to $19,000 by the time the child turned 20, which would the student could then access in exchange for a year of national or military service.
The $20 billion annual cost of such a program, Stengel noted, would equate to “roughly two months of funding for the Iraq war and about half what the government spends per year on the federal prison system.”
Stengel also called for making national service a Cabinet-level department, instituting a “summer of service” for those about to enter high school and starting a National-Service Academy.
The RLC Statement of Principles affirms that, “We oppose any mandatory draft registration or conscription. The best military must be composed of those who voluntarily assume the restrictions and burdens of military service in defense of the nation and the principles of the Constitution.” The same holds true for national service or community activity. Forcing community involvement through compulsion will not — long term — be a net gain for civic or community involvement.
TIME magazine should stick to reporting and refrain from lobbying.