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Graduate of the University of Oregon, Married for 4-1/2 years to my High School sweetheart. I am currently residing in Cleveland while I attend med school.

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    Tuesday, August 14, 2007

    On the Draft

    There has been a lot of talk of the reintroduction of the draft in the near future consequent to the "Iraq War Czar", Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, stating that it be "I think it makes sense to certainly consider it". President Bush has consistently stated--and has repeated as of late--that he opposes the institution a draft. Nonetheless, Hillary Clinton took the opportunity to send a letter to President Bush asking him to clarify his position. Barack Obama has jumped on board with this opportunistic questioning, as well.

    I have always opposed the draft, because I feel that it is a stunningly inappropriate way to enlist people. Today, Steven Levitt of Freakonomics fame has a great explanation of why a military draft doesn't make sense from an ecocnomics standpoint.
    The idea that a draft presents a reasonable solution is completely backwards. First, it puts the “wrong” people in the military — people who are either uninterested in a military life, not well equipped for one, or who put a very high value on doing something else. From an economic perspective, those are all decent reasons for not wanting to be in the military. (I understand that there are other perspectives — for example, a sense of debt or duty to one’s country — but if a person feels that way, it will be factored into his or her interest in military life.)
    One thing markets are good at is allocating people to tasks. They accomplish this through wages. As such, we should pay U.S. soldiers a fair wage to compensate them for the risks they take! A draft is essentially a large, very concentrated tax on those who are drafted.
    Obviously the draft is a bad idea, and fortunately it is one that President Bush has opposed. What's not clear is why Clinton and Obama didn't make such a fuss when Rep. Rangel proposed the reinstitution of the Draft

    Cross Posted at 123Beta

    2 Comments:

    Blogger Jimmy K. said...

    No need for a draft, only in dire circumstances, but what about a public service corp?

    5:44 PM  
    Anonymous ColoradoRight said...

    Good to see you back.

    Any coerced service is economically unsound overall. If you want to have a military that can protect your country you must pay for it and paying people directly who provide their service willingly is the best for society. Of course, its must cheaper for the government to force people into service, they can then pay nothing or next to nothing for the labor - but in the end you get what you pay for. A military that isn't cohesive or capable. We don't have all the reports of soldiers refusing orders or murdering their officers as happened in Vietnam when service was forced on the unwilling.

    9:10 AM  

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