Monday, October 24, 2005

What Troop Shortage?

Does it really count as a shortage if we are simply unwilling to pay the market price for something? A few weeks ago, people were talking about a gas shortage. But I never had any trouble finding gas for sale--it was just expensive!

Right now, the Iraq war has both increased the demand and reduced the supply of young men willing to put their lives at risk--for the piss-poor wages the military is offering. The solution to that is simple and as old as Adam Smith. Pay more money. Private contractors working in Iraq are making over $100,000 a year, and we think we can meet the demand for troups by offering less than a quarter of that?

We could easily offer every soldier sent to Iraq a $100,000 per year bonus. It would add less than 10% to the price of the war and cost less than a twentieth of the Bush tax cuts. Given that, it's downright un-American (read anti-capitalist) for the soldiers not to demand what the market will bear for their product. You can bet that Exon and Haliburton aren't settling for quartered profits just because there's a war on.


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