America, the Dependent

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

social justice army, House Republicans
retreated—and will shrink the AmeriCorps budget by a
minuscule 6.7 percent.

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.

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
apparently not good enough.

Here`s a

typical job ad in Boston
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"
"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
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."
, The
Weekly Standard,
April 11, 2011]

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
future Democratic flacks-in-training? Shouldn`t it
already be the job of the vast network of existing
social services and welfare agencies to publicize and
assist food-stamp applicants?

troublesome: AmeriCorps workers are themselves being
encouraged to sign up for food stamp benefits—giving new
meaning to
(or rather,

An AmeriCorps
blogger provided a thorough advice manual on working the
system: "Plenty
of jobs come with perks,"
the worker wrote.

"For some these
come in the form of company cars, dental insurance, or a
spending allowance. For VISTAs, it`s food stamps."

The step-by-step guide tells AmeriCorps workers:
"If you apply for
food stamps after you become an AmeriCorps VISTA member,
you will have a decreased food stamp allotment. So if
you`re debating applying, you should do it now."

AmeriCorps tip for those preparing for their in-person
eligibility interview with food stamp administrators:
"These social
service agencies are only open during regular business
hours, so you will probably have to take the day off
(some sites don`t count it against your 20 vacation/sick
Oh, and don`t forget to
"bring a book."
Says the wise AmeriCorps welfare-system expert:
"While food
stamps are handled by a different agency in every state,
they all generally have a reputation that mirrors that
of the DMV: too little staff, too high demand, and wait
times that can border on extreme. While my own wait was
only three hours, I`ve heard some VISTAs waiting as long
as eight. Yes, I know you may have an appointment, but
that doesn`t necessarily mean they`re going to see you
at that time. So bring a book, an iPod, that screenplay
you`ve been tinkering with—whatever, because you`re
going to be waiting a while."

Make no mistake:
Americans are suffering as a result of this profligate
administration`s job-stifling and anti-economic growth
policies. No one questions the need for a basic safety
net to care for those most in need of help. But the
community-organizer-in-chief is squandering billions on
failed Alinsky-ite rackets that are geared toward
ever-expanding service not to the individual, but to the
insatiable state.


Michelle Malkin

is the author of

Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists,
Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our


for Peter Brimelow`s review. Click


for Michelle Malkin`s website. Michelle Malkin
is also author of

Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild

and the just-released

Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies.