What If Peace Corps or Americorps Recruits Received the Same Benefits as Military Recruits?
by John Lawrence, October 9, 2018
As an Uber and Lyft driver, I pick up a lot of young men and women that are in the military, the Navy primarily. They are usually very nice people from some Podunkville, USA. They have made a choice to go into the military as opposed to going to college. Let's consider the wisdom of that choice from a purely selfish point of view. A lot of these people live in pricey Mission Valley apartments, not in some barracks on a military base. Some of them even own their own homes or condos, but those usually have been in a while. For those who have been in only a few years, their pay scale must be sufficient to afford an apartment in Mission Valley which averages around $2000. a month.
Then there is world travel. Most of them have visited several countries on deployment while their peers in college have gone nowhere. The military recruits are offered training, education including college, free health care and even a pension if they stay in so many years. Meanwhile, their peers at UCSD and other colleges are living in barracks like dormitories and taking on massive student loan debt. What's wrong with this picture?
What if young people were offered the same benefits to go into the Peace Corps or Americorps where they could do some good for the country and the world. As far as risking their lives, it's about the same for the Peace Corps or the military. Many Peace Corps volunteers have been killed in foreign countries either by military forces or disease. Peace Corps inductees are offered meager benefits compared to military recruits.
College is no panacea and it's a worse deal than going into the military. College graduate often come out with no job offers and $30,000 in student loan debt. They are actively recruited by college admissions officers who are no more than salesmen trying to get the students enrolled by painting a glowing picture of life after college. However, the reality is a lifetime of debt, default and penalties that balloon up the amount they actually borrowed. The young man or woman who went into the military comes out with an education, job skills, a performance record, a work history, having traveled the world and NO DEBT. Too bad it's in the cause of war and world domination rather than in the cause of peace and building a better country from within.