Harvey M. Sapolsky, a professor of public policy and organization, Emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on American military power as a global force, and why this necessitates an all-volunteer military.
"It isn’t that soldiers’ lives aren’t valued. Actually, the concern with their casualties has grown with time even after conscription was abolished. It is just that American presidents are expected to act—to do something when trouble starts in the Middle East, when North Korea rattles some sabers and when Russia tries to change its boundaries. Doing something often involves the deployment of ships, the use of soldiers as advisors, a missile strike, and the start of a bombing campaign. One thing leads to another, but rarely to a quick, easy victory."
President Donald Trump hands a pen to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie during a spending bill signing ceremony at VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Associated Press/Evan Vucci)
The Trump administration wants to shift billions of dollars from government-run veterans' hospitals to private health care providers. That's true even though earlier this year the administration vehemently denied it would privatize any part of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The privatization of essential government services is nothing new, of course. Over the years, countries have privatized dozens of services and activities that were once the sole domain of governments, such as the provision of electricity and water, road operations and prisons and even health care, with the ostensible aim of making them more efficient.
But before going down that road, the question needs to be asked whether privatizing essential human services such as those for military veterans serves the public interest. New research we recently published suggests that privatization may come at a social cost.
The Coast Guard is officially shit outta luck for a paycheck thanks to the government shutdown, which means that zero coasties have been paid to create some of the amazing memes being shared as a way to vent their frustration.