July 31, 2005
Get 'em while they're poor
The NY Times reports that Army recruiters are doing great--in the Northern Mariana Islands, that is. With poverty rampant and textile factories closing because of downward competition from China, more and more young people are signing up to join the Army. "The Army has found fertile ground in the poverty pockets of the Pacific while falling well behind recruiting goals in the United States. The per capita income is $8,000 in American Samoa, $12,500 in the Northern Marianas, and $21,000 in Guam..." The Army minimum signing bonus is $5,000, pay is $17,472 and recruits can get educational benefits as well. Pretty tempting.
While we shudder to think the poor are exploited in the Pacific to fight our wars, guess who is signing up in the U.S.? Yes, indeed. Those earning the minimum wage look at the signing bonus in Detroit and Milwaukee just like they do in Guam.
Depressing. Is it time to bring back the universal draft with no exemptions for the healthy or the wealthy?
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