Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has not been at the forefront of the policy arms race—a race which has been dominated by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, to date—but one of his first big proposals just came out, and it’s…not bad. As the New York Times points out, Buttigieg served his country as a Navy Reserve officer in Afghanistan, and his aim in the policy plan released Wednesday was to expand service programs generally, including AmeriCorps and Peace Corps, and to add new programs intended to focus on climate change and mental health and addiction. Per the Times:
If elected, Mr. Buttigieg’s campaign said work on getting 250,000 Americans enrolled in these expanded programs would begin on his first day in office, an expansion which would be more than triple the size of those existing programs. A spokeswoman for his campaign said doing so would cost approximately $20 billion over 10 years.
The programs would be managed via a new position on the National Security Council, and time spent working in one of these programs would be credited to student debt relief. In Buttigieg’s vision, this type of service wouldn’t necessarily be compulsory, but it would be “expected”:
Eventually, he said, the first question posed to any job candidate or college applicant would be, “What did you do with your time in service?”
That expectation might be on the high end, but it’s hard not to agree with the thrust of Buttigieg’s programs, or his assessment that serving one’s country shouldn’t be synonymous with going to war.