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Letter to the New York Times on a Proposal to Reinstate the Temporary Enslavement of Young Americans

Summary:
In this letter, published on New Year’s Day 2003 in the New York Times, I took issue with Charles Rangel’s proposal to reinstate military conscription: To the Editor: Representative Charles B. Rangel is right to want the cost of American military action to be shared by all Americans (”Bring Back the Draft,” Op-Ed, Dec. 31). He is wrong, however, to suppose that conscription is a means to this noble end. The only effective way to share the cost equitably is to pay military personnel those salaries that make military service attractive. This way, all taxpayers share the cost of military action. In contrast, a draft that forces young people into service at salaries insufficient to attract them voluntarily concentrates the cost of military involvement unfairly on those young people who

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In this letter, published on New Year’s Day 2003 in the New York Times, I took issue with Charles Rangel’s proposal to reinstate military conscription:

To the Editor:

Representative Charles B. Rangel is right to want the cost of American military action to be shared by all Americans (”Bring Back the Draft,” Op-Ed, Dec. 31). He is wrong, however, to suppose that conscription is a means to this noble end.

The only effective way to share the cost equitably is to pay military personnel those salaries that make military service attractive.

This way, all taxpayers share the cost of military action.

In contrast, a draft that forces young people into service at salaries insufficient to attract them voluntarily concentrates the cost of military involvement unfairly on those young people who are drafted.

DONALD J. BOUDREAUX
Fairfax, Va., Dec. 31, 2002

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Don Boudreaux
He is a professor of economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Previously, he was president of the Foundation for Economic Education.

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