Want Socialism? Try the US Military

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      All these self-styled guardians of the Republic, whether retired flag officers luxuriating in their beach-front homes in San Diego, or active-duty military vandalizing the capitol building, are beneficiaries of socialism. Their profession has a 20-year retirement, free lifetime health care for retirees, housing allowances, food allowances, privileges at heavily-subsidized commissaries and PXs (which, fittingly, somewhat resemble the special stores the old Soviet nomenklatura had), free fitness centers, golf courses, and the list goes on.

      With the demise of the Soviet Union and the capitalist transformation of nominally “Red” China, socialism as a hegemonic political system is confined to backwaters like North Korea. The U.S. military is now the biggest socialist enterprise remaining on earth.

      For officers, particularly those with experience in weapons acquisition, the gravy train doesn’t end with retirement. Aside from their retirement pay and other continuing benefits, they can snag a job with a defense contractor to peddle influence with their former colleagues. Far from being private enterprise, defense firms like Lockheed Martin or Northrop Grumman are hothouse plants, sustained only by the contracts the military steers to them; they would wither and die if subjected to the cold winds of actual market competition.

      The rationale for across-the-board pay raises is as an incentive in hold onto those with valuable skills. While this makes sense to keep a jet engine mechanic for whose talents a commercial airline will pay a premium, I am unaware that we have any difficulty retaining generals. In the case of my hypothetical lieutenant general, he also will likely be provided with a representational house, complete with an enlisted cook and driver, in order to ease the strain of command.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

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