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Rangeling with the Draft

Charles Rangel has renewed his calls for conscription — a heinous institution built on the presumption that people are property of the state.

Rangel’s main argument for the draft is that it makes Uncle Sam less likely to embark upon unjustified wars.  Rangel said that “There’s no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq . . . if indeed we’d had a draft.”

Here’s a letter that I sent today to the New York Post in response to Rangel’s proposal.

21 November 2006

Editor, The New York Post

Dear Editor:

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) believes that by forcing the children and grandchildren of high government officials into the military, the draft would reduce Uncle Sam’s likelihood of going to war (“Rangel: Bring On the Draft,” Nov. 21).  In other words, Rep. Rangel recognizes that government makes irresponsible decisions whenever politicians have no large, personal stakes in the matters they decide.

Rep. Rangel’s insight applies more broadly than he suspects.  It means also, for example, that minimum-wage legislation is ill-advised, for very few politicians have family members who are likely to lose jobs as a result of raising the minimum wage.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Chairman, Department of Economics
George Mason University


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