"Being paid by the government to shelve books in a library, whether as an employee or as an Americorps member, is no more laudable or valuable than being paid by Crown Books to stock bookshelves in a bookstore. A host of private-sector jobs provide enormous public benefits—consider health care professionals, medical and scientific researchers, entrepreneurs, inventors, and artists. Many of these people earn less than they could in alternative work; they have chosen to serve in their own way. Yet government programs that equate public employment with service to society effectively denigrate service through private employment."
(1954- ) American columnist, author, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute
National Service -- or Government Service?, Policy Review, p. 34, September-October, 1996