Ever since my first Economics class it has bugged me that the value of the volunteer hours put forth by people in American communities is not counted in the Gross National Product.
Haabitat for Humanity did not even exist when I first started thinking about this, but it seems like forever that organizations like Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, Optimists, Knights of Columbus, Shriners--these were all men's groups when I was younger and then there were women's auxiliaries of most of them such as lodges like the Elks, Moose, etc. Women's groups were called by any number of names and most were probably affiliated with churches who collected clothing and had fundraisers for "the missions" which I hasten to add were domestic as well as foreign.
Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, by the way guys, Happy 100th birthday--and school drives for the unfortunate have now grown up to include community service requirements in high schools. People recognize how valuable and rewarding is the giving of t-i-m-e and want to pass that on to the next generations.
It would make the whole problem of unemployment a little more palatable knowing that with extra time on their hands many folks are working for no pay. This is true patriotism and indicative of the American giving nature.
If those guys at the CBO can come up with concrete numbers with the fuzzy statistics that are thrown at them by the White House and Congress, they ought to be able to at least put an addendum on the GNP.
What say you? And is there something bugging you?
Have a good weekend--