By: Dale Bowling
Today is the day that we honor our Veterans- those who have sacrificed so much for America. This usually involves Americans gathering together and saying exactly how much we appreciate their service.
But every Veterans' Day I feel this to be terribly inadequate. There are two expressions that always
come back to me.
The first is "Actions speak louder than words".
The second is "Put your money where your mouth is".
You see, Veterans have given up a lot to serve their country and yet when they come back they sometimes find that beyond a few backslaps and handshakes, they're not getting much in return.
Newly-discharged Veterans are often at a disadvantage when it comes to finding employment. If you've spent the last several years hunting down the Taliban, then your recent work experience doesn't necessarily translate well into a civilian job.
While the total veteran unemployment rate is 6.3% (well below the national average of 7.9%), the
unemployment rate for post-9/11 Veterans is 10%. Not exactly the way we want to welcome our returning Veterans home.
I assume that rather than just keeping our appreciation at the level of backslaps and high-fives, we as
Americans would want to do something about this.
There are a couple of things we can do. One is to support job training programs for returning Veterans that build on their experience to create marketable civilian employment skills.
This should be a no-brainer, but job training programs fall under the heading of GOVERNMENT
SPENDING and are organized by BIG GOVERNMENT which according to a substantial portion of the country can never do anything right and is wrong to take money from one group (say Civilians) and give it to others (like say, Veterans).
As part of GOVERNMENT SPENDING, veterans' programs are easy prey for across the board spending cuts- like the ones we might have if Republicans won't work with our President to prevent America from sliding over the fiscal cliff.
The second major thing we can do, is to reward employers who hire Veterans with additional tax cuts. Actually if you thought this would have universal support as a common sense, patriotic, inexpensive measure to help solve the problem, you would be deeply mistaken.
This tax cut for employers who hire Veterans is already in some pending legislation before Congress.
The American Jobs Act (which is fully-funded so wouldn't cost taxpayers anything to implement) would give this tax incentive to employers who hire returning veterans. It would also create millions of jobs and improve America's crumbling infrastructure in the process, but Republicans have been holding it hostage for a year hoping to deny Democrats another chance at fixing the country's ills.
Veterans' Day ceremonies and hearty handshakes are excellent, but as a Nation we need to put up or
shut up for our Veterans.
America needs to let Lawmakers know in no uncertain terms to not play politics with our Nation's
Veterans. Pass the American Jobs Act and find a compromise to keep Veterans' job training programs
from the chopping block.
Happy Veterans' Day!