NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Using Americorps to Fight Terrorism?

November 8, 2001

"Fighting terrorism" has become an excuse to expand government bureaucracies and obtain federal subsidies, critics charge.

Now there is a move afoot to expand the so-called "national service" program established by Bill Clinton from 50,000 members to 250,000 and involve them in fighting terrorism. The leader of the push is Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz).

He says AmeriCorps members "have begun to glimpse the glory of serving the cause of freedom."

But critics say AmeriCorps couldn't even pass a laugh test.

  • In Mississippi, AmeriCorps members have gone door-to-door to sign up people for food stamps.
  • In New Jersey, they recruited middle-class families to accept subsidized federal health insurance for their children.
  • In California, they staged a puppet show to warn 4-year-olds of the danger of earthquakes.
  • Also in California, they were found foisting unreliable "ultra-low-flush toilets" on poor people.

Almost half of AmeriCorps members quit before completing their term of service.

And the General Accounting Office has criticized AmeriCorp for failing to make any attempt to measure the program's actual impact.

Source: James Bovard, "A Call to Cash: AmeriCorps Is a Boondoggle for Bureaucrats," Investor's Business Daily, November 8, 2001.


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