Though it sure seems like it, those seedy financial fissures are the not the only people smiling this week.
Reuters reports that the abysmal job market has helped the U.S. military meet all of its recruitment goals in the past year for the first time since it became an all-volunteer force in 1973.
Given that the military is already stretched thin with its two “conflicts” in Afghanistan and Iraq, these new recruits will no doubt help aid the Obama administration as they mull the idea of sending 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan next year (to repeat the mistakes of the Soviets in the 1980s).
Pentagon officials confirmed the obvious: Recruitment is up because employment is down. But, like anything else in this world their recruitment efforts come with a hefty price.
Curtis Gilroy, a senior Pentagon official, said a 10 percent increase in the national unemployment rate generally translates into a 4 percent to 6 percent "improvement in high-quality Army enlistments."
Recruitment does not come cheap. On average, the military spends between $9,000 and $10,000 per recruit, a figure that includes the high cost of advertising and of employing thousands of recruiters across the country, Carr said.
The Army spends far more, about $22,000 per recruit.
With all due respect to our brave men and women serving our country, I’d rather sell organs for Top Ramen than join the military. This is not a slight to the military so much as it is one to the two wars its government has placed it in. It's not you all, loyal soldiers; it's them.
Imagine what could be done with that money if used on education, or developing new technology that would lead to jobs, or fixing a road (which would lead to jobs), or saving people from foreclosure.
Not that I'm trying to snatch every dollar away from defense department’s budget. I just take issue with this money being spent to recruit folks to chase people in Afghanistan as the real terrorists laugh in a villa in Pakistan.
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Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.