The idea of a workfare state is a simple one. Supplement programs that are currently wholly funded through general taxation--and start new programs--by adopting compulsory or semi-compulsory civilian service. According to the Obama administration's transitional website, these would include:
- a Classroom Corps to help underserved schools
- a Health Corps to serve in the nation's clinics and hospitals
- a Clean Energy Corps to achieve the goal of energy independence
- a Veterans Corps to support the Americans who serve by standing in harm's way
According to the policy wonks who have dreamed up such things (see links) the latter would hopefully lead to the former. Here's what the Democratic Leadership Caucus/Progressive Policy Institute had to say:
"Universal service. If adopted, these five steps for taking voluntary national service to scale would move us closer to the ideal of universal service. By bringing tens, and eventually hundreds, of thousands of willing citizens together to meet the great challenges of our time, we will hasten the day when it will become routine for Americans to ask each other: What did you do for your national service?"
And how will it become UNIVERSAL? Representative Charles Rangel of NY has an idea. He has introduced legislation that has been sitting in the Ways and Means Committee since 2007. H.R.393 would require all those between the ages of 18 and 42 years of age to serve at Uncle Sam's pleasure, in either a military or civilian capacity.
...Just the first step to an organized and mobilized economy...
"If we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the use of coercion." --Friedrich A. Hayek