There was a time when young men (and women who were interested) were required to enter the service at age 18 and were trained to handle specific jobs and, equally important, responsibility. Today, with a volunteer approach to military service, comparatively few receive that training and learn the lessons that military service instills in young people.
We cannot foresee another "draft" any time in the future, but President Obama has introduced the idea of "free community college for two years" as a way to educate and/or train young people that will benefit them and the country in the days ahead.
Some might say this is "just another way for the government to spend our money to take care of young people who won't or can't take care of themselves." But if you think about it, you'll realize that the local factories that formerly employed high school graduates are gone (to other countries with cheap labor) and there's nothing to replace them. The leading industrial country in Europe, Germany, has achieved that position because it trains its young people in the jobs those industries require. Those industries flourish, the young people make a decent living and the country prospers.
Spending money for the right thing is always a problem for government — and it's rare when everyone agrees on a particular program or approach. President Eisenhower got it right when he decided we needed a nationwide network of highways that would help bind the country together and make us more mobile. That program employed thousands of people nationwide, including many veterans. It's sad that the current Congress has refused to pass legislation to repair the highways and bridges that are now broken and dangerous — and in the process would provide a badly-needed boost in employment.
The President's program for "free" community college for responsible students is future-related in terms of employment, but an investment now could pay big dividends for our country and a lot of worthy young people (and those who lost their jobs and require retraining ) in the long run.
Beau Weisman, Editor