Tuesday, July 10, 2012

NY Times: Reduce The National Debt By Enslaving The Young

I was pretty sure the New York Times ran this opinion piece as an April Fool's joke until I remembered it's the middle of July: Thomas Ricks saying "Let's Draft Our Kids," proposing a mandatory universal conscription system for every American upon turning 18.
A revived draft, including both males and females, should include three options for new conscripts coming out of high school. Some could choose 18 months of military service with low pay but excellent post-service benefits, including free college tuition. These conscripts would not be deployed but could perform tasks currently outsourced at great cost to the Pentagon: paperwork, painting barracks, mowing lawns, driving generals around, and generally doing lower-skills tasks so professional soldiers don’t have to. If they want to stay, they could move into the professional force and receive weapons training, higher pay and better benefits.

Those who don’t want to serve in the army could perform civilian national service for a slightly longer period and equally low pay — teaching in low-income areas, cleaning parks, rebuilding crumbling infrastructure, or aiding the elderly. After two years, they would receive similar benefits like tuition aid.  
Right, because low-income kids would really benefit by having unwilling low-paid 18-year-old teachers fresh out of a modern American high school. But, of course, tasks like teaching, or revamping the infrastructure, aren't as important as freeing up more soldiers to focus on killing, which is why these second-tier civilians who want to go to college later should only receive tuition aid, not free tuition altogether.

So, what is the third option he offers?
And libertarians who object to a draft could opt out. Those who declined to help Uncle Sam would in return pledge to ask nothing from him — no Medicare, no subsidized college loans and no mortgage guarantees. Those who want minimal government can have it.
I'm guessing any draft-objectors would still be expected to pay taxes to fund all these goodies they're no longer entitled to, though.
Others argue that the numbers don’t add up. With an average cohort of about four million 18-year-olds annually, they say, there is simply no place to put all these people. But the government could use this cheap labor in new ways, doing jobs that governments do in other countries but which have been deemed too expensive in this one, like providing universal free day care or delivering meals to elderly shut-ins. 
Because who better than unwilling teenagers to care for small children or be forced into elderly people's homes? Ricks is proposing a new American peculiar institution: "Maybe you Europeans can do these things without relying on slave labor, but here in the land of the free that just won't work."
Setting up a new non-career tier of cheap, young labor might be a way of preserving existing jobs for older, more skilled, less mobile union workers.  
Yes, let's make it even harder for young adults to get ahead than it already is, by legally forcing them to provide cheap labor that simultaneously offers no competition to those older, richer and more established than they are.
The pool of cheap labor available to the federal government would broadly lower its current personnel costs and its pension obligations — especially if the law told federal managers to use the civilian service as much as possible, and wherever plausible. The government could also make this cheap labor available to states and cities.  
Because we're not free citizens; we're revenue-generators whose sole purpose is to pay off the government's bloated financial obligations to itself.
But most of all, having a draft might, as General McChrystal said, make Americans think more carefully before going to war. Imagine the savings — in blood, tears and national treasure — if we had thought twice about whether we really wanted to invade Iraq.
 Yeah, the draft sure did a great job of keeping us out of Vietnam, didn't it?


Anonymous smartass sob said...

Yeah, the draft sure did a great job of keeping us out of Vietnam, didn't it?

Ironically, back in those days when this country still had an active military draft, one of the arguments in favor of abolishing it was that without a draft the government would not be able to fight unpopular and unwise wars such as Viet Nam.

Ricks is a despicable son of a bitch for suggesting this new slavery. He should be told to fuck off.

7:19 AM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

Went and read the full article at the Times and: Oops! I left out someone - General Stanley A. McChrystal, former commander of international forces in Afghanistan, who called for re-instating the military draft so that "everyone will have some skin in the game." He's another despicable son of a bitch, and a dishonorable one as well. He took an oath to defend this country and its ideals - not try to subvert them with calls for even less individual liberty. Another slaver who should fuck off.

7:44 AM  
Anonymous NoStar said...


7:51 AM  
Blogger Windypundit said...

Interestingly, Thomas Ricks appears to be a libertarian. He doesn't actually say he is -- and he certainly doesn't sound like one -- but we can deduce it from his third option that "libertarians who object to a draft could opt out." Since I can't find anything in any online bio that mentions Ricks' serving in the military or holding any public service job, he has clearly opted out and therefore must be a libertarian. QED.

4:12 PM  
Anonymous Jason Sonenshein said...

Have you ever noticed that proposals for involuntary "national service" (none dare call it slavery) invariably target the age group whose members generally have the least money and are least likely to vote? Nobody has the guts to propose drafting folks who are at or near their peak earning and peak voting years, say 60- to 62-year-olds.

The proponents of these schemes are always old enough that they wouldn't have to worry about "national service" being inflicted on them if their domination fantasies ever come to pass.

5:35 PM  

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