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All the Dubai Ports stuff got me thinking about globalization and it's effects on our lives. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that, like it or not, we have to do whatever it takes to remain competitive. In this regard, I began to wonder if maybe we shouldn't try to modernize our armed forces the same way we are turning private corporations in lean, mean global fighting machines. Applying the new thinking to the military, we would conclude:***Military Pensions have to go. Hey, everyone else is getting screwed on pensions, why not screw the armed services too? The familiar argument is that we have to cut costs to “remain competitive in a global economy”. OK, fine. How big are the pensions for Al-Qaeda members? How about Al-Mahdi Brigade members? Former Baathists? I rest my case.This is not to say there should be no retirement plan for military personnel. Rather, they should get self- directed 401Ks, defined contribution plans instead of defined benefit programs. This could work. Picture two Jarheads in the middle of a firefight. Whoooooosh …BOOOOOOOM powpowpoow, ping …zing……..“Hey, Sarge, what do you think I should do about small cap exposure? I'm lookin' at Fidelity Low Priced Stock or Fidelity Small Cap stock “….INCOMING Bang bang-bang-bang-bang …”die, you morter forker!”“Corporal! Get your head outta your butt and listen up! Low Priced Stock has shifted to more of a mid cap focus. While I like their Sharp's Ratio, they won't help you with small cap exposure you need……”Bap bap bap bap bap whooooosh POW!“Right Sarge, but how about Vanguard Explorer?”Whizzzzzzzzzz ping bambambam..No, Corporal, they be closed….. got any ammoLike I said, why should they have it any better than the rest of us. This is just the beginning, too. Imagine military personnel choosing their own health care provider. Plan A has a $5,000 deductible for amputations but their prosthesis coverage is better, whereas Plan B has the $2500 deductible but provides for a medical IRA and has better physical therapy options, but no dental plan….Hey, if it's good enough for us……Have cleaned up all these non-competitive benefits issues, we need to turn to the touchy subject of direct compensation. The Army, as we know, has a rather flat pay scale. Flag officers are well compensated compared to the troops but it's not like they make the big bucks compared to corporate CEOs. Corporate America has shown us that management is what drives the organization, not those low level munchkins. What we should do is raise the pay of generals and admirals by a factor of ten and outsource the low level jobs (think Sarge and the Corporal in the example above) to third world types. Like, if instead of fighting with each other for nothing, we could get rebellious Africans, Asians and Latinos to fight our battles for us and get paid too! It's win-win! It's the American Way!
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