If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
Inflation has been in the headlines for months. Everything costs more than it did a year ago. The hope was that these price increases were of a temporary nature. The good news this week is that one type of inflation is temporary, and definitely ends on October 1. The bad news is that the product that costs so much is something Americans do not like to put a price on.
On Sunday the military news and culture themed website Task and Purpose reported “The Army Really Wants to Pay You to Get to Basic Training Quickly.” The article covered the Army’s attempts to make recruiting goals for the current fiscal year which ends September 30. In April the Army offered new recruits a $10,000 signing bonus if they would ship to basic training in the next 30 days. On June 13th the amount was raised to $25,000. Four days later the amount was increased to $35,000. The general in charge of Army recruiting says, “Recruiting in the current environment is a challenge, and we have positions we need to fill right now.” For volunteers willing to leave immediately to Airborne and Ranger training, the bonus is $50,000.
The evil twin to inflation is shrinkflation. The usual illustration given for shrinkflation is the size of a candy bar. Instead of raising the price, the candy bar gets smaller. Shrinkflation is happening to the military too. On Thursday, Military.com had the headline, “Army Drops Requirement for High School Diploma Amid Recruiting Crisis.” The article cited this relinquishment as, “one of the most dramatic moves yet in the escalating recruiting crisis hitting the entire Defense Department.” Also included in the lowered standards, are recruits whose tattoos are visible beyond their uniform. These splashes of individual expression will detract from the power a unit has through its uniformity.
Shrinkflation is also affecting the percentage of the population who are eligible to join the military. On Tuesday the political website The Hill had the headline, “The Military Has a Serious Recruiting Problem — Congress Must Fix It.” The article notes that various preconditions, such as learning disabilities, criminal records, and obesity, are constraining which citizens may join the military, “These factors rapidly shrink the initial pool of 31.8 million to about 465,000 attractive recruits, many of whom will have opportunities in the private sector.” Geography also shrinks the pool of those willing to defend America. Task and Purpose notes, “The majority of military recruits come from just eight states: California, Illinois, Ohio, New York, Georgia, North Carolina, Florida and Texas.”
The inflated signing bonuses are not only intended to lure recruits away from civilian occupations. The other purpose to these growing incentives is to overcome mental reservations some potential recruits may have about military service. Task and Purpose notes other impediments to recruiting are, “concerns among younger Americans over safety, harassment and sexual assault in the military.” The Bible takes a very different approach to meeting recruiting goals. In Deuteronomy 20, military leaders were given God’s screening criteria. The officers were to send home all first-time house buyers, farmers who had not eaten from their first crop, and all newlyweds (Deut. 20:5-7). Instead of trying to overcome the fears some recruits had, the Bible instructed officers to say, “Is anyone afraid or fainthearted? Let him go home so that his fellow soldiers will not become disheartened too” (Deut 20:8).
Inflation has already shrunk the size of the 2023 Army from 1,010,500 to 998,500. Maybe it is time to have add God-flation to the nation’s recruiting goals. Instead of lowering the standards to add bodies to our ranks, let freedom be defended by those who have completed the basics of American public education and who understand service means sacrifice. Higher recruiting standards worked for God’s people in the past. I bet His criteria might even keep the nation safe in the inflationary times we live in.