Regarding the excessive number of troops we have: If we have too many troops, why are we stretched so thin? Why would it be necessary to deploy troops for 12 months at a time and multiple times within one term?
Because we shouldn't be invading other countries and forcing democracy from the barrel of a gun. If you want to be one of those that still supports the military action we took in Iraq, by all means that's your prerogative. Just know that the world opinion is against you.
Regarding the education/social system in Russia: The “channeling” of people into certain career paths is equivalent to the gov’t telling people what they’ll be. You call it a merit system, I call it not giving everyone a fighting chance. You know where else similar things happen? China and the stories I hear about Vietnam a few decades back. I’ll let you find the common factor between those countries.
You are probably thinking of your own circumstances and the opportunities that you have pursued. I imagine you went to a typical university somewhere, probably a public one, majored in something sensible, and probably didn't get out with too much debt. But I read accounts all the time of people who unwisely borrow tons of money to attend private schools...even good ones like USC or Pepperdine...and are crushed by their debt. Even worse are the less gifted of us who fall for the DeVry, Le Cordon Bleu, Wyotech, University of Phoenix, etc. commercials and then borrow upwards of 20-25,000 a year tuition. All of this is financed through Pell Grants, Staffords, etc. This isn't just about "opportunity"...this is about an investment in the economy and the future of the country. How does the country benefit by saddling these people with debt that they will struggle with for much of their young lives? When you think about it like an investment, are we really getting a solid return for financing people's foolish choices? I think at the very least, young people should be entitled to some form of career counseling that advises them which markets are growing and explain to them a smart, financially sound education path. Maybe some people get this from their high school counselors...I know that I did not.
Truth be told, if you really wanted a system that would provide maximum opportunity to all you should have some kind of government takeover so that you can control costs. Most EU countries are this way -- Germany for instance has tuition free universities. Under our current system I am pretty sure that student loans are going to become the next "subprime loan" crisis. I am not alone here...there are thousands of articles just like this all over the internet --> http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Co ... ePops.aspx
How about this for a merit system…everybody is guaranteed education thru grade school. Then support a system where there are a lot of different options from which the young citizen can choose from such as trade schools, inexpensive community/junior colleges (most have 4 year university partners where all credits will transfer), public and private 4 year institutions, etc… and leave it up to the person to take on some self-responsibility and decide what they can afford and then maybe even help them pay tuition and COL via grants and a multitude of scholarships? Sounds like a pretty decent system to me.
You are describing the current system... If our recent housing bubble hasn't taught you anything about the dangers of throwing "free money" at Americans' feet, then I dunno what else to say.
Regarding the gov’t conspiracy, or their lack of interest in reducing the tuition rates, to make military service more attractive: I will grant you that the GI Bill is a major selling point of the military branches. I don’t see why you’re opposed to an organization offering a benefit to one of their potential employees…emphasis on the word potential, because the person has a choice to join or not.
It's fine as long as it is a fringe benefit, but I suspect that the vast majority of college-oriented people signing up for the military are doing so primarily for the tuition benefits. How many people really WANT to volunteer for the army?...you get yelled at, cussed at, shipped overseas on a moment's notice, and may die at any time. My problem is that the totality of the circumstances surrounding American youths is causing them to do things they otherwise would not do. And I think that's unfortunate because all of this really boils down to political and social values, and so far nobody has done anything about it.
Also, there were 18.4 million students enrolled in colleges and universities in 2008. Do you really believe that if ALL 1.5M soldiers/sailors/airmen weren’t in the military and instead chose to attend a college full time that would be enough of an increase in students that the government would be forced to take action to reduce the cost of attending college?
I think you are flipping my statement around...it's not that I think the government is actively conspiring to jack up tuition so that people will be forced to join the military just to afford it. I think it's more like the government is passively watching as schools do this and benefiting from their inaction. But even if the situation were as you put it, in your scenario I would argue that government would have more incentive to let tuition rise HIGHER if there were no willing volunteers. So it wouldn't be that a lack of volunteers would incentivize the government to control tuition somehow.
And here’s one more thing to think about…I’ve traveled to a lot of countries and lived overseas for almost 4 years. There were great parts about each place I’ve been and some things in each place were better, or even a lot better, than what we have in the US. But I challenge you to find one that you’d rather live in…and if you do find one, maybe you should try to jump through whatever hoops you have to jump through to go live there. Life is too short to not be happy with where you are living. And if their immigration laws make it too tough for you to emigrate there, maybe they weren’t as cool as you thought...
I never said I was unhappy living in America...there are many great things about it and I'm lucky to have been born here rather than Africa or something. But that doesn't mean we should accept the status quo where we see real problems.