8/15/2005

Booman Tribune ~ Dying for Dollars and Diplomas

Dying for Dollars and Diplomas
by susanhu
Sun Aug 14th, 2005 at 11:43:20 PM EDT

What a quandary. These days, if you want to go to college, you may have to join the Army and -- like the character in tonight's Six Feet under -- risk getting three limbs blown off and putting yourself out of your misery with a self-administered fatal dose of phenobarbital.

"Should you sacrifice your life to get a college degree in the United States?," asks Beth Shulman in Alternet's "Gunning for College."

And for what? So, so they eventually end up like the callers in to Laura Flander's Sunday show today on Air America, who despite their degrees, can't get a job or can't get one that pays better than $10 an hour?

Tomorrow's NYT critiques the disparity and ill-timing of rising recruiting bonuses, which work best as competitive incentives during times of thriving job opportunities and in peaceful periods with low risk of death or injury :

An Army recruit in Midland, Tex., signed up for four years in the infantry on April 22, and received a $20,000 bonus. Three weeks later near El Paso, another recruit who chose the same job and length of service received no bonus. [...]

[C]ritics described the program as an ineffective tool for attracting troops - a holdover from an era when the most significant recruiting challenges came from competition with a robust economy. Now the main hindrance to recruitment is war, many said, and bonuses should be used to boost compensation for anyone willing to volunteer.

Booman Tribune ~ Dying for Dollars and Diplomas

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