America is desperate to find ways out of its funk, and Nicholas Kristof thinks it would do well to copy a liberal-sounding model from an unlikely place—the US military. "The United States armed forces knit together whites, blacks, Asians, and Hispanics from diverse backgrounds, invests in their education and training, provides them with excellent health care and child care," he writes in the New York Times. And forget income inequality: A top general earns about 10 times as much as a private; a CEO can make 300 times as much as the floor cleaner.
"That’s right: the military ethos can sound pretty lefty," writes Kristof. Retired Gen. Wesley Clark was only "partly joking" when he called the US military the "purest application of socialism there is," he adds. Rave all you want about fancy weaponry, Kristof thinks the military's best achievement is the "superb" day care system it runs for working parents, with cost based on a sliding scale. Many point to corporate America as the path to follow, one "that sees investments in people as woolly-minded sentimentalism," writes Kristof. "That's not the only model out there." (Read more US military stories.)