Rangel and Jefferson Agree on a National Service Program

Rangel and Jefferson Agree on a National Service Program

This is a discussion on Rangel and Jefferson Agree on a National Service Program within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Interesting topic, one section tends to take the wind out of the sails of the 2A, but otherwise good info. I doubt anyone could argue ...

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Thread: Rangel and Jefferson Agree on a National Service Program

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    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    Rangel and Jefferson Agree on a National Service Program

    Interesting topic, one section tends to take the wind out of the sails of the 2A, but otherwise good info. I doubt anyone could argue against a standing Army today, with the technology and foreign commitments involved, but it's still prohibited in the Constitution. Or could a standing Army be considered one that patrols our streets?

    http://www.opednews.com/articles/ope..._jefferson.htm

    Rangel and Jefferson Agree on a National Service Program

    by Thom Hartmann

    http://www.opednews.com





    Many of the world's mature democracies require every high-school graduate to serve a year or two of either military or nonprofit service, as Congressman Charlie Rangel has proposed every year for some time now. At first blush, this may seem like an oppression by government, but history shows it's actually one of the best ways to prevent a military from becoming its own insular and dangerous subculture, to prevent the lower ranks of the military from being overwhelmed by people trying to escape poverty, and to keep military actions of the government accountable to the people.

    The Founders of America extensively considered this same issue. Many were strongly against there ever being a standing army in America during times of peace, although they favored a navy to protect our shoreline borders, and today would no doubt favor an air force. The theory was that an army had too much potential for mischief, to oppress people, or even stage a military coup and take over an elected government (as recently happened in Pakistan and has happened in several other nations over the past century).

    Thomas Jefferson first suggested that we not have a standing army, and wrote a series of letters in 1787, as the Constitution was being debated, urging James Madison and others to write it into the Constitution.

    The idea was, instead of a standing army, for every able-bodied man in the nation to be a member of a local militia, under local control, with a gun in his house. If the nation was invaded, word would come down to the local level and every man in the country would be the army.

    Switzerland has such an army, and many have suggested it's one reason why Hitler never tried to invade this neighbor.

    To facilitate this, it was suggested that three things were necessary. A ban on a standing army; a provision making every able-bodied male a trained member of a local militia that could come under nation control if the nation was attacked; and a provision making sure every male had a weapon handy if that day ever came.

    Step one would be to write a ban on a standing army into the Constitution. When Jefferson received the first draft of the new Constitution in 1787, he wrote that without an addendum, a Bill of Rights, he would recommend that Virginia oppose it.

    In a Feb. 12, 1788 letter, he noted to his friend Mr. Dumas, "With respect to the new Government, nine or ten States will probably have accepted by the end of this month. The others may oppose it. Virginia, I think, will be of this number. Besides other objections of less moment, she will insist on annexing a bill of rights to the new Constitution, i. e. a bill wherein the Government shall declare that, 1. Religion shall be free; 2. Printing presses free; 3. Trials by jury preserved in all cases; 4. No monopolies in commerce; 5. No standing army. Upon receiving this bill of rights, she will probably depart from her other objections..."

    The topic was hotly debated, and Alexander Hamilton wrote an extensive article about it, first published in a newspaper titled The Daily Advertiser on January 10, 1788. This article is now known as Volume 29 of The Federalist Papers. (The entire text is at http://lcweb2.loc.gov/const/fed/fed_29.html .)

    "If standing armies are dangerous to liberty," Hamilton wrote, "an efficacious power over the militia, in the body to whose care the protection of the State is committed, ought, as far as possible, to take away the inducement and the pretext to such unfriendly institutions." A citizen's militia, Hamilton noted, "appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it..."

    But while many Founders saw a standing army as a threat to democracy, others pointed to threats ranging from hostile Indians to French Canadians and Spanish Floridians as reasons to keep it.

    The debates among the Framers of the Constitution led to a clumsy compromise, with the ban on a standing army and universal requirement for membership in a militia chopped away, to be revisited at some (presumably near) future time. The tattered and compromised remnant of that discussion is today known as our Second Amendment to the Constitution, which reads, in its entirety: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

    (As you can see, the Second Amendment thus had virtually nothing to do with the "we can rise up against an oppressive government" argument put forth by today's advocates of ownership of assault weapons, or the "right to self defense in your own home" argument put forth by the NRA.)

    As president, Jefferson again tried to revive his argument. He slashed the size of the army to just over 3000 soldiers, closing forts and cutting costs. But he couldn't kill off the army altogether, because the citizen's militia had never been formalized at a federal level.

    After he left office, Jefferson came to the conclusion that if he couldn't get rid of the army, then every man should be a member of it, if only for a brief time. This would insure diversity of opinions in the army, and minimize the chances of a military coup or a military culture that could become so powerful it would influence the government or seduce the president into playing commander-in-chief too often in foreign adventures.

    Jefferson was also morally offended by the idea of an army that people would join only because they were so poor there was no other way to get an education and a job (for such people, he wanted universal free public education, including free college tuition - which he brought into being when he founded the University of Virginia).

    He wrote his thoughts on the topic in a June 18, 1813 letter to his old friend and future president James Monroe.

    "It is more a subject of joy that we have so few of the desperate characters which compose modern regular armies," he wrote, pleased that his army had taken on a different nature during his tenure as President, just completed five years earlier. "But it proves more forcibly the necessity of obliging every citizen to be a soldier; this was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free State. Where there is no oppression there will be no pauper hirelings."

    He noted that so-called "voluntary" armies depend upon a "pauper class" for their existence. By the end of his presidency (1808), Jefferson had largely done away with America's standing army, and he was thus inspired to write to his friend Dr. Thomas Cooper, on September 10, 1814, that "our men are so happy at home that they will not hire themselves to be shot at for a shilling a day. Hence we can have no standing armies for defence, because we have no paupers to furnish the materials."

    In history, Jefferson found justification for his opinion. "The Greeks and Romans had no standing armies," he wrote in that letter to Monroe, "yet they defended themselves. The Greeks by their laws, and the Romans by the spirit of their people, took care to put into the hands of their rulers no such engine of oppression as a standing army. Their system was to make every man a soldier, and oblige him to repair to the standard of his country whenever that was reared. This made them invincible; and the same remedy will make us so."

    He noted that such a system of universal service "was proposed to Congress in 1805, and subsequently; and, on the last trial was lost, I believe, by a single vote only. Had it prevailed, what has now happened [in the War of 1812] would not have happened. Instead of burning our Capitol, we should have possessed theirs in Montreal and Quebec. We must now adopt it, and all will be safe."

    He noted that three-quarters of a million men qualified for a draft in 1814, and added, "With this force properly classed, organized, trained, armed and subject to tours of a year of military duty, we have no more to fear for the defence of our country than those who have the resources of despotism and pauperism."

    As history shows, Jefferson was more often right than wrong. We should institute a universal draft in the United States, with a strong public service option - from planting trees to assisting in schools to helping in hospitals - easily and readily available for those young people who don't want to go into the military.

    The result will be a generation of citizens who feel more bonded with and committed to their nation, who have experienced the critical developmental stage of a "rite of passage" into adulthood, and who have experienced more of America and the world than just their own neighborhood.

    Universal service would also help calm President Dwight D. Eisenhower's fears. The old general left us the following warning as he left office in 1960: "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

    "We must never," he added, "let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted."

    As Jefferson wrote to Monroe: "We must train and classify the whole of our male citizens, and make military instruction a regular part of collegiate education. We can never be safe till this is done."

    Herbert Hoover correctly noted, "Old men declare war. But it's the youth who must fight and die." When the children of our President, Vice President, and members of Congress are all obliged to serve, the odds are infinitely higher that our leaders won't speak so glibly about the acceptability of "a few casualties" in optional wars of choice like Iraq.

    By including women, and adding a very broad government-funded option of national public service, we can bring about a modern version of Jefferson's vision and create both a more egalitarian society and a less belligerent and poverty-driven military. And prevent future "adventures" like Iraq.



    http://www.thomhartmann.com


    Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk show carried on the Air America Radio network and Sirius. www.thomhartmann.com His 17 published books include "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection," "We The People: A Call To Take Back America," "What Would Jefferson Do?" and "Ultimate Sacrifice." His most recent book is "Screwed: The Undeclared War on the Middle Class and What We Can Do About It."


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  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array Bob The Great's Avatar
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    A very powerful article, and it's foundation is sincere, even if his conclusions are wrong (IMO).

    I was with him until this part

    The debates among the Framers of the Constitution led to a clumsy compromise, with the ban on a standing army and universal requirement for membership in a militia chopped away, to be revisited at some (presumably near) future time. The tattered and compromised remnant of that discussion is today known as our Second Amendment to the Constitution, which reads, in its entirety: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

    (As you can see, the Second Amendment thus had virtually nothing to do with the "we can rise up against an oppressive government" argument put forth by today's advocates of ownership of assault weapons, or the "right to self defense in your own home" argument put forth by the NRA.)
    The 2nd Amendment had many purposes. The framers were not solely concerned with deciding between a standing army and a citizen militia. It's obvious to anyone who reads their writings (I'm afraid I'm at work, so I can't make an exact reference) that they were very cautious about possible government oppression, and designed multiple systems to thwart it, both internal to the government (checks and balances, anyone?) and external (an armed citizenry). Certainly, the danger of an external attack was on their minds, but the other benefits of armed citizens were as well.

    As for a universal term of service, that has both problems and benefits, when contrasted with a purely volunteer force. It is true that a volunteer force can be one that draws from primarily from the bottom of society, but this is not automatically the case.

    As it stands now, the people who volunteer for military service in this country don't do it out of desparation. They're not the lowest of the low who have nowhere else to go. In fact, it's very much the opposite. (check this out for some light reading http://www.heritage.org/Research/Nat...y/cda05-08.cfm) As such, the fear that our volunteer force will be comprised primarily of sub-par losers is baseless. In other words, Jefferson was wrong about volunteer armies feeding off of "paupers" by nature, and our current military forces are living proof that a high-quality volunteer force is possible.

    On the other hand, a conscripted force, by definition, will include people who did not want to be there. Affluent background or not, an un-motivated or negatively motivated fighting force will not be as effective as a volunteer force who do it because they want to. The only perk this type of system has over a volunteer force is that you're never short on people. The side effect being that many of the people you do get end up making lower quality soldiers than the volunteer force we already have. But if you're not short on people in the first place, then it makes no sense to go down that road.

    This whole draft idea appears to me to be nothing more than an attempt to neuter our military, making it more difficult to defend ourselves, and justifying the whole thing by appealing to people's knee-jerk reaction to "stick it to the rich" for being successful. It's done to make a political point, while degrading the people who are currently serving as being bottom-of-the-barrel.

    When the children of our President, Vice President, and members of Congress are all obliged to serve, the odds are infinitely higher that our leaders won't speak so glibly about the acceptability of "a few casualties" in optional wars of choice like Iraq.
    This is no different than Michael Moore walking around accosting congressmen to sign up their kids for military service (since when can a parent sign up his adult kid anyway). This kind of statement reveals the true spirit behind the article.

    we can bring about a modern version of Jefferson's vision and create both a more egalitarian society and a less belligerent and poverty-driven military. And prevent future "adventures" like Iraq.
    As does this one. The clear goal here is one more step towards government imposed "equality", while simultaneously treating people as different (We must force the rich to serve. There are too many blacks in the military. Politicians aren't being forced to put their kids in danger). The author is ending by clearly stating as fact his thus-far only implied opinion of our fighting forces (belligerent and poverty-driven), which is completely false.

    Let the people who feel the desire to serve their country do so. They're already some of the best among us, and they provide us with the highest quality military force in the world. Who cares if they aren't a perfect representation of every made-up narrowly defined group of people in America. The bottom line is, they're the best because they want to be.

    Rant off

  3. #3
    Distinguished Member Array SixBravo's Avatar
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    IIRC, the comment about Switzerland is wrong. From what I remember reading about this, Switzerland requires military service for every able bodied male for a few years, then every citizen is enrolled into the Reserves until they are 55. Because of this, any Swiss denizen can purchase, privately, any piece of military hardware they want to.

    Want an M1A2? Got the $,$$$,$$$ for it? Park it in your garage!
    Feel the need for speed with an F-16? Got the cash? Convert your barn and pave the driveway!

    Hitler's reasoning for not invading Switzerland is complex. Not the LEAST of which is the fact that its surrounded by the Swiss Alps.

    I can see how someone could attribute a line of thinking to how the Swiss operate. However there is one HECK of a differnece between a standing professional army plus its Reserve Corps - versus a miltia which is only called upon during an invasion. Switzerland is small enough that they can "get away" with this. The United States on the other hand.... IMHO, I think this is the worst idea ever. I'm not opposed to a draft when required - however mandatory service for all Americans upon graduation from high school or college? No way. Of all the people I know, I can count on two hands the number of people I think I could count on in a combat environment. There's a lot of well-meaning people I know who like to think they would do the right thing... but they are exactly that.

    I might be alone in this opinion, but as a young person today (I'm 25), I shudder to think about some of the people I know being in military service. Some might do better than I expect, and some worse. But how many of you would like to go through basic training with half of them tree-huggers worrying about their bullet harming a tree and the other half just like yourselves.

    Would anyone here want to serve in a platoon of half sheep and half sheep-dogs knowing you might have to go into combat with them? The idiological divisions alone would be enough to kill a unit.
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    Ex Member Array dwolsten's Avatar
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    I have to disagree with many of the opinions here, and side with President Jefferson. I believe some sort of national service should be mandatory at college age for all citizens (male and female). It's done in Germany.

    One reason I think this is necessary is for the good of the young people. There's simply too many young people out there with absolutely no direction in life, and no life skills at all, and worst of all, no discipline. Military training of some type would be good to instill some of this in them (although a decent public education system would help too). Jefferson's ideas about this making citizens feel more bonded and committed to their nation are absolutely right; people in this country today don't feel bonded to their nation or their neighbors at all any more. I haven't been there, but I'll bet Switzerland's citizens aren't like this. For such a small country, they are quite prosperous. They also love firearms; here's some articles about them:
    Guns, Crime, and the Swiss
    Where Kids and Guns Do Mix

    If you shudder at people you know being in military service because they're a bunch of pansies, that's part of the problem right there. With a little militia training as they have in Switzerland, they can still keep most of their pansy ways, but at least they'll be able to handle a weapon if necessary, will have more allegiance to their country and fellow citizens, and won't be so irrational about citizens carrying weapons. However, such service should be operated by the states, not the federal government, in the form of a citizen militia much like what the Swiss do. These people should be a defense force, not used for unnecessary foreign wars in countries which don't threaten us. For cases where we have a genuine need to project force in a foreign land (e.g. Taliban Afghanistan), this is best done mostly by professional soldiers.

    For reference, I'm 31.

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    Distinguished Member Array Bob The Great's Avatar
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    I suppose I lean a little more libertarian on this issue than you. If people want to be pansies, good for them. If they want to join the military, good for them again. If they want to pursue something else besides those two careers (yes, being a pansy is a career)... you guessed it, good once again.

    So, let me make sure I understand. You're advocating a national guard type of organization, but mandatory? That might go over better than universal mainline military service, but I still say a volunteer force in this role would perform better.

    I suppose it comes down to deciding whether the benefit to society outweighs the individuals freedom of occupational choice (even temporarily). And I know where I stand on that one.

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    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    I'm sure we could find a place for "national service" outside of carrying arms for the few conscientious objectors and wierdos out there. There is rumored to be a national shortage of Paramedics and RNs...
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    Soon...Rangel wants to open up an investigation to "discover" if the terror threat on the U.S. is "real" or not and then demand that Bush reinstate the draft.
    It's all part of a longer term plan to get Hillary into the White House in 08.
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    Distinguished Member Array Bob The Great's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paramedic70002 View Post
    I'm sure we could find a place for "national service" outside of carrying arms for the few conscientious objectors and wierdos out there. There is rumored to be a national shortage of Paramedics and RNs...
    It's not about conscientious objectors putting flowers in their rifles. It's about being pressed into governmental service (whatever service that might be) during times of relative peace and economic prosperity. Until another WW2 or Great Depression, there's no need to give the government control over a year or three of every citizen's life. Heck, even FDR's CCC was a volunteer organization.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Interesting article.

    It's about being pressed into governmental service (whatever service that might be) during times of relative peace and economic prosperity. Until another WW2 or Great Depression, there's no need to give the government control over a year or three of every citizen's life.
    Yes, it's about preparing during times of relative prosperity such that when a crisis arises the preparations will have been done. 'Cause, if a crisis arises and the prep hasn't been achieved, it's too late. Strong need, that preparation, and not very many ways to go about it. This method is tried and proven across the world, with fairly predictable results. It was effectively what was done in the USA, in the years around the founding. That preparation defeated the British empire of the day.

    Good points are made on the physical prep, mindset, spreading the "wealth" of knowledge/skills across all able-bodied persons, dilution of the negative risks of a standing army. I also agree that it would result in a stronger nation, relinquishing the need for localized care & feeding of the populace in times of crisis, given that the populace would be far better trained than the "sheep camp" (knowledge by media blitz and half-thinking) that's so typical today. A clear benefit would be the arming of everyone ... thereby creating a tough mine field for any would-be criminal (whether that be a perp in a black mask or a gray suit); by simple principles, reducing the risk of attack.

    As for impact on concealed-carry? I think it's hard to argue against the idea that improved training across the board would result in reduced ownership, reduced competence, reduced incidence of carry. IMO, if done right it could be a strong boost to gun ownership/competence.
    Last edited by ccw9mm; November 24th, 2006 at 02:00 PM.
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    I think its best that i dont post my comments on this thread , it would be out of line with the TOS .
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    VIP Member Array sgtD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SixBravo View Post
    . IMHO, I think this is the worst idea ever. I'm not opposed to a draft when required - however mandatory service for all Americans upon graduation from high school or college? No way. Of all the people I know, I can count on two hands the number of people I think I could count on in a combat environment. There's a lot of well-meaning people I know who like to think they would do the right thing... but they are exactly that. .
    I agree with the above assertion in a current context, but I wonder what the differece might be if a huge majority of our society was ex-military. Perhaps the current generation of young folks are the way they are because they were raised by, and taught in schools by, leftover hippies and war protestors from the 60s?

    I just wonder if each succesive generation, having served in the military, might bring about a different attitude among the populace.

    Of course the best counter argument for this would be the fact that many of the hippies in the 60s were raised by parents who served in WWII.

    Truly, I think it boils down to the fact that the people of our country have grown too soft for many reasons and (most, not all) kids today are just plain spoiled. However, I am for mandatory military service or some other service like the peace corps, between the ages of 18-24. If done properly, it could instill some "corps values" in the sissy generation that we are currently producing and foreign service can supply them with a frame of reference so they'll know just how good they've got it. I also think it would be a good idead for the sons and daughter of presidents, comgressmen, and senators to serve. Perhaps it would change the attitude of the ruling class in regard to how wars should properly be executed. (ie..win hard, win fast, to reduce casualties over the long haul and ensure that no fighting man or woman died for nothing in a loosing battle because politicos wouldn't let them win and finish it.)

    But then again, we can't have some drill instructor taking all of their self esteem away after the public school system has spent years and countless millions building it up, now can we?

    As far as the original article, I think Rangle is doing this as a way to weaken the military and turn more people against the war effort. IMO He doesn't care a wit about anything other than keeping himself ans his party in power, and to hell with the country.
    Last edited by sgtD; November 24th, 2006 at 03:51 PM. Reason: added remark
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  12. #12
    Member Array sticky's Avatar
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    draft

    What simply amazes me is that during the last Presidential election all the liberal news media and Denocrats were saying a vote for Bush is a vote for the draft!Its pretty amzing now that they are behind Rangel and pushing this.As a combat Vet I am dead set against the draft;I much rather have a Brother that volunteered to be by my side than someone who was made to be.We have record re-enlistments while "in country" and they are meeting recruiting goals.The problems of manning lies in blame to the Klintoon Precidency where he cut the military massifly!
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    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob The Great View Post
    Until another WW2 or Great Depression, there's no need to give the government control over a year or three of every citizen's life. Heck, even FDR's CCC was a volunteer organization.

    Well, we are in a "Global War on Terrorism." Maybe if we had the draft, we could throw enough warm bodies against all our enemies at one time to wipe them out and get it over with.
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    Distinguished Member Array Bob The Great's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paramedic70002 View Post
    Well, we are in a "Global War on Terrorism." Maybe if we had the draft, we could throw enough warm bodies against all our enemies at one time to wipe them out and get it over with.
    I assume you're talking about simultaneous invasions of North Korea, Iran, and anyone else who sticks their tongue out at us? I think we can all agree that is not the motivation behind Rangel's idea, and even if it were, would probably not be a smart move.

  15. #15
    Ex Member Array dwolsten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paramedic70002 View Post
    I'm sure we could find a place for "national service" outside of carrying arms for the few conscientious objectors and wierdos out there. There is rumored to be a national shortage of Paramedics and RNs...
    Don't get ahead of yourself. You can't just take someone out of high school and have them start working as an RN; it takes years of college education (either 2 or 4 depending on the exact RN degree) to reach this status, as well as in-hospital experience. If you want to put objectors in a position that doesn't involve firearms, you'd be better off doing public works projects like the CCC did in the 30s.

    Besides, there is no shortage in nursing. Like many other professions where employers have been crying "shortage!", there's only a shortage in the salary they want to pay, and the decency of working conditions offered for that salary. I'd love to hire some staff for my house for $1/day, but for some odd reason no one is taking the job. There must be a shortage!

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