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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Our Lefty Military

Nicholas Kristof:

Our Lefty Military, by Nicholas Kristof, Commentary, NY Times: ...[I]f we seek another model, one that emphasizes universal health care and educational opportunity, one that seeks to curb income inequality, we don’t have to turn to Sweden. Rather, look to the United States military.

You see, when our armed forces are not firing missiles, they live by an astonishingly liberal ethos — and it works. The military helped lead the way in racial desegregation, and even today it does more to provide equal opportunity to working-class families — especially to blacks — than just about any social program. It has been an escalator of social mobility in American society because it invests in soldiers and gives them skills and opportunities.

The United States armed forces knits together whites, blacks, Asians and Hispanics from diverse backgrounds, invests in their education and training, and provides them with excellent health care and child care. And it does all this with minimal income gaps: A senior general earns about 10 times what a private makes, while, by my calculation, C.E.O.’s at major companies earn about 300 times as much as those cleaning their offices. That’s right: the military ethos can sound pretty lefty.

“It’s the purest application of socialism there is,” Wesley Clark ... told me. And he was only partly joking. ... Perhaps the most impressive achievement of the American military isn’t its aircraft carriers, stunning as they are. Rather, it’s the military day care system for working parents.

While one of America’s greatest failings is underinvestment in early childhood education (which seems to be one of the best ways to break cycles of poverty from replicating), the military manages to provide superb child care. The cost depends on family income and starts at $44 per week. ...

    Posted by on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 06:57 PM in Economics, Social Insurance | Permalink  Comments (24)


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