May 08, 2004

Bring Out Yer Draftees!

When I first heard Charlie Rengel (D-NY) yammer on about reinstituting the draft because, he argues, the burden isn't shared equally among the rich and poor (or whites and non-whites), I just wanted to pull my hair out!
(Okay, I could use a trim about now but going for the "clear look" might frighten the cats.)
(Senator Ernest Hollings also pushes to bring back the draft, but I've never heard his talk about it so I'll just stick to Rengel.)

Let's assume that Rengel's argument is valid; that young men and women volunteering to serve in the armed forces is due -- not to a desire to serve their country and/or out of a feeling of responsibility to defend all that is good and fair and free in this old world -- but to merely escape the economic dead-end that is their situation at home.
Having served -- and remembering those that I served with -- I don't buy it. But let's just assume, for now, that Charlie is 100% right.

What is his solution then (as if this was a problem that required a solution)? To deny the opportunity to these "dead-enders" that Service will provide. Funding for college, VA medical benefits, the training and discipline that would help anyone unfortunate enough to be in an economic and, possibly, emotional desert.

Meanwhile it would also swipe aside the higher educational or career plans of those who choose not to enter the military simply because they want to contribute something else altogether to their community.

Congressman Rengel's desire to bring back the draft would only replace willing volunteers with unwilling conscripts. And, as with any plan that is anti-choice, it would leave no one satisfied.
The willing volunteer would be denied his opportunity to escape the dead end. The unwilling conscript would be denied his chosen path, as well.
The military would be denied it's willing volunteer and be saddled with an unwilling conscript. No one would be happy with this arrangement.
No - bah - dy!!! (<--Warner Wolf reference)

But, (oh yeah! I've got a link!) Walter Williams has another take on a reinstitution the draft. He's an economics professor and his column is, of course, focused on the economic aspect of the argument.
Here's a taste:

Rest assured that if the military offered a compensation package of, say, $50,000 to $100,000 a year, it could get all the soldiers it wanted. Thus, lesson No. 1 is that whenever there's a draft, you know that the wage is too low to get a sufficient number of people to voluntarily supply their labor services.

And another:
Being employed producing the hardware for the defense of our country need not be voluntary. The government could send us draft notices ordering us to report for work at General Dynamics' Texas track-vehicle facility at $400 a month. If the government did this, would you call it a draft or slave labor? Not to worry, the Defense Department offers attractive contracts to firms like McDonnell Douglas and General Dynamics, and they in turn offer attractive wages to employees, and thus, volunteerism gets the right number of workers to make the right number of jets and tanks.

Charlie Rengel's argument is economically-based and Walter Williams demonstrates beautifully that an economist know more about the economy than a mere US congressmen does.
(I could say that Rengel's argument is race-based, but I don't wanna go there. I actually like Charlie. He may wear his ass as a hat, but that's no crime...)

So, if the freedom of choice argument isn't good enough for ya, take a gander at Walter's economic argument against the draft. It's well worth it (if yer into this sort of thing)!

Posted by Tuning Spork at May 8, 2004 07:46 PM
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