Rosa Brooks, a law professor at Georgetown University and now a senior fellow at New America, wrote a thoughtful column for Foreign Policy recently on the pay and benefits structure in the U.S. military. The country spends an estimated $768 billion per year on defense, Brooks estimates, and a portion of that cost goes to decent pay for military personnel (according to the Congressional Budget Office, the average member of the military is paid better than 75 percent of civilian federal workers with comparable experience) and solid benefits. Among these benefits are free health care, low- to no-cost higher education and housing, and retirement with pension after 20 years of service.
As Brooks rightly points out, all these extra benefits reflect the esteem we as a society have for those who serve in the military. Still, there are some lessons that the public could borrow from this so-called “socialist” military workforce. Chief among these lessons is another military perk that Brooks doesn’t mention in her piece: child care.