So the sequester approached like the screaming meteor of Chelyabinsk, startling everyone and convincing most to run for the hills, to grab cans of green beans and ammo to survive the coming collapse in society…only for it to pass by as just another oxygen particle, sucked up into our collective noses.
As everyone on Capitol Hill flailed around with their messaging (“Oh jeez, maybe we shouldn’t have hyped that up after all…”) Mike Riggs at reason noted that the OMB report summarizing the cuts to government, as part of the sequester, included cuts to an agency that no longer even exists. Curious as to what other nuttery there may be within the report, I’ve decided to make it the centerpiece of this month’s edition of 7 on the 7th, where I list 7 agencies, offices, departments, programs…whatever…that we should cut from the federal government. Here, we have them being trimmed in a very tiny, minuscule way….why not gut them entirely?
1. Capitol Police (And the Mint Police. And the FBI Police. And the….)
The first item I came across in my look was the Capitol Police. The Capitol Police are the men and women who guard the literal US Capitol, where Congress meets, and the National Mall (where sadly, the only products are overly expensive hotdogs and legislators) I’m not saying their job is unnecessary, but when you walk around DC, you see things. Like…we have a Capitol Police. And a Mint Police. And an FBI Police. And a Smithsonian Police. And the Federal Protective Service. And….
Rep. Chuck Rangel (D-NY) is probably best known for his inability to follow some of the laws he has helped pass, particularly tax laws. Now, he’s introduced a bill that will require national service from all Americans age 18 to 24. From the bill:
To require all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 25 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or as civilian service in a Federal, State, or local government program or with a community-based agency or community-based entity, to authorize the induction of persons in the uniformed services during wartime to meet end-strength requirements of the uniformed services, to provide for the registration of women under the Military Selective Service Act, and for other purposes.
On the surface, this may sound like a heck of an idea. In fact, through the years, I’ve known many people who feel that service is something that should be required from all youth. It’s understandable. As Joanne DeHerrera says over at The Examiner:
Perhaps one of my favorite Milton Friedman stories is when he was served on a presidential commission to look at military conscription. The Nobel Prize winning economist listened to General William Westmoreland, who was givening testimony before the commission. Here’s how it played out:
In his testimony before the commission, Mr. Westmoreland said he did not want to command an army of mercenaries. Mr. Friedman interrupted, “General, would you rather command an army of slaves?” Mr. Westmoreland replied, “I don’t like to hear our patriotic draftees referred to as slaves.” Mr. Friedman then retorted, “I don’t like to hear our patriotic volunteers referred to as mercenaries. If they are mercenaries, then I, sir, am a mercenary professor, and you, sir, are a mercenary general; we are served by mercenary physicians, we use a mercenary lawyer, and we get our meat from a mercenary butcher.”
Friedman’s words ring just as a true today as they did some 40 years ago. But don’t tell that Thomas Rick, who earlier this penned an editorial in The New York Times explaining why we need to “draft our kids” (and yes, that sound you’re hearing is me banging my head against a wall right now):
In late June, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the former commander of international forces in Afghanistan, called for reinstating the draft. “I think if a nation goes to war, every town, every city needs to be at risk,” he said at the Aspen Ideas Festival. “You make that decision and everybody has skin in the game.”
Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) is back on his crusade of reinstating the draft in an effort to promote “national service” to the state. Here is an excerpt of the letter he sent to his colleagues in the House:
If there were a Universal National Service Act, there would be no shortage of troops to fill the ranks without repeatedly deploying the same exhausted troops over and over.
I urge you to support my legislation for the Universal National Service Act as a co-sponsor.
• Requires all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 25 if called upon by the President during a declaration of war, a national emergency or a military contingency operation to perform national service for a minimum of two years with few exceptions.
• Cuts down the number of deployments for active duty and reserve military units who now see multiple deployments during the course of their enlistment due to troop strength shortages.
• Provides a National service to work education, health care, ports, security and other services as deemed necessary by the President.
• Benefits us ALL as Americans by helping ensure the United States is ready to protect and respond to our nation’s needs at home and abroad at times of peace, national emergency or war if necessary.
The question of whether we need a Universal National Service Act will be important as long as this country is placing thousands of its young men and women in harm’s way. We make decisions about war without worry over who fights them. Those who do the fighting have no choice; when the flag goes up, they salute and follow orders.