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By Edward Saint-Ivan
I am OUTRAGED by our national debt. I have several ideas how to cut the debt without harming poor people. We should have a national conversation about waste at the National Institutes of Health, the United States Military, and the student loan program.
The National Institutes of Health can be divided into two main halves. The intramural program, which duplicates research already done by universities for less money, and the extramural program for handling grant money. My biggest cuts would be in the intramural programs, which means institutes like the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Orthopedics, Arthritis, and Dermatology, the National Eye Institute, and many others are dinosaurs. I would make much less cuts in the area of grants.
My next area of dire concern is the United States Military. The ROTC program is a total waste of money, robs students of electives, and contributes nothing to the pursuit of scholarly research. If ROTC really creates better officers, I have yet to see any proof.
Instead of ROTC, I would reward outstanding soldiers with a shot at Officer Candidate School. My program would be based on visionary policies of Admirals Borda and Zumwalt, the two most influential leaders in the history of the United States Navy.
Admiral Borda died under a cloud, but his relentless pursuit of excellence started when he joined the United States Navy at the very bottom and rose up to Chief of Naval Operations. Zumwalt was the youngest officer to ever become Chief of Naval Operations.
The United States Military cannot create leaders by sending them to ROTC or an expensive service academy. A four-year degree from one of the service academies costs the American taxpayer a quarter million dollars. Great soldiers make great leaders and even a system based on service doesn’t have to leave out classes.
Every future officer in the United States Military should be highly versed in the Geneva Convention, preventing war crimes like what happened at Guantanamo Bay, and management.
The student loan program is a total disaster. Students don’t have to demonstrate they can’t get a scholarship, don’t have to show they tried other things like the military, and don’t always spend money on tuition. Even if someone could benefit from learning history or art or music, that doesn’t justify going to college because there are other avenues. I learned to speak fluent Hungarian from speaking with my parents.
George Washington didn’t go to a service academy because it didn’t exist in his time. Abraham Lincoln didn’t take out a loan for law school because he didn’t need a law degree to sit for the Bar. To save the United States of America from debt, we need to stop wasting money.