By Lee Cary
Barack Obama’s recent words to promote his image as Community Organizer in Chief were not about forming a paramilitary force of volunteer brown shirts. They were about turning America into one, giant, community organizer’s sandbox at enormous cost to taxpayers.
Senator Obama was nearly 17 minutes into his July 2 speech (yet another one where naming Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was required) in Colorado Springs, Colorado when he deviated from his pre-released script and performed without the teleprompter net saying,
“We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.” (emphasis added)
The immediate context for that amazing statement was a preview of parts of his plan to vastly expand community service opportunities for Americans of nearly all ages. He said,
“People of all ages, stations, and skills will be asked to serve.”
The range of his community service initiatives was outlined in an earlier American Thinker article. In his campaign document entitled “The Blueprint for Change: Barack Obama’s Plan For America,” Obama’s “Service” section runs a close second to “Education” in complexity. But, with his Colorado Springs’ statement, it grabbed first place in its projected costs to taxpayers. Obama did the cost projection himself.
He plans to double the Peace Corps’ budget by 2011, and expand AmeriCorps, USA Freedom Corps, VISTA, YouthBuild Program, and the Senior Corps. Plus, he proposes to form a Classroom Corps, Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, Veterans Corps, Homeland Security Corps, Global Energy Corps, and a Green Jobs Corps. Here a corps – there a corps – everywhere a corps corps.
So it made sense in Colorado Springs when he said his call to community service “will be a central cause of my presidency.” He couldn’t be clearer in signaling his intentions, including a Social Investment Fund Network to link local non-profits with the federal government.
The entire plan is breathtaking in its scope. But it does not, as at least one internet writer has suggested, portend a “giant police force.” It would be easier to rebut if it did. As it is, it’s silly stuff born of naively fanciful dreams.
Senator Obama aims to tap into the already active volunteerism of millions of Americans and recruit them to become cogs in a gigantic government machine grinding out his social re-engineering agenda. It’s Orwellian-like, with a novice social activist’s mentality at the helm. In his speech he said,
“Now I know what the cynics will say. I’ve heard from them all my life.”
Has he? Well, given his absence of noteworthy community organizational achievements, perhaps he might have done more listening to the “cynics” for constructive criticism.
It seems clear that he meant to say, in effect, that the security of the nation is as dependent on its unarmed community service providers as it is on its armed military personnel. Even the nomenclature “corps,” as in Peace Corps, carries a martial connotation as does the name, Salvation Army. His point: national security begins with civilians. It’s a message like the one America’s home front heard throughout World War II. Except in his case, he means to marshal volunteers for social service and economic equality while saving the environment.
“Because the future of our nation depends on the soldier at Fort Carson, but is also depends on the teacher in East LA, the nurse in Appalachia, the after-school worker in New Orleans…”
That is, of course, true. But ultimate national security requires someone to carry, and, if necessary, discharge a deadly weapon with intent to kill. This is something teachers, nurses and after-school workers are typically unaccustomed to doing as part of their service obligations.
Voters haven’t paid much attention to his “Service” plan because the old news media has ignored it. That will likely continue, even though Obama attached an approximate price tag to it in Colorado Springs. When Obama said that the “civilian national security force” would be just as “well-funded” as the Armed Forces, he stepped squarely into the giant sandbox and played with the big numbers. As the late Carl Sagan said, “billions and billions” of dollars. Here’s how.
The FY 2008 Department of Defense (DoD) budget is about $482 billion. Obama has announced his intentions to cut “tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending,” including $9 billion per month spent in Iraq and expenditures for the missile defense system, while increasing the force size of the Army and Marine Corps.
Let’s imagine “tens of billions” in cuts eventually adds up to a whopping $150 billion. That would be a near one-third cut in defense spending, taking the DoD budget down to $332 billion. Even in such an extreme case of DoD budget reduction, for his “civilian national security force” to be “just as well-funded” would mean funding his community service initiatives at an equivalent $332 billion.
Consequently, another $332 billion in addition to the Pentagon’s reduced budget of $332 billion equals a net increase of $182 billion in the annual federal budget, assuming we sponge-up the already existing expenditures for the relatively meager, by comparison, existing service programs he plans to expand. That’s $182,000,000,000 in new federal monies, and that means higher taxes.
In his entire life, Senator Obama has never managed an organization larger than a Senate staff, or that of a law school publication. And, he’s never operated a for-profit business or been responsible for any profit center within one. So, while words matter to Senator Obama, it’s not clear if math means anything to him at all.
Note: the author has experience in community organizing. For example, he organized one of the earliest Meals-on-Wheels programs in Illinois, in continuous service for over 30 years. He trained over a hundred Illinois non-profit organizations to resettle Vietnamese Refugees. He assembled three dozen congregations and a synagogue in a mid-sized Texas town to provide emergency assistance to low-income citizens, in continuous operation for 25 years. He was an expert witness at a Texas Senate hearing when legislation forming the state’s Commission on Human Rights was being drafted.