Guaranteed Jobs for Veterans with the Government?
Unemployment among U.S. veterans is significantly higher than that of the general population, a point that politicians have long discussed but, thus far, done little to correct.
by Matt Blevins
In recent weeks, the issue of returning U.S. military veterans finding jobs - or not finding jobs, to be more accurate - has emerged as yet another campaign chip being tossed about by both Democrats and Republicans. President Obama recently announced a plan to help about 8,000 veterans find jobs in federally funded community health centers throughout the country. Of course, that proposal was followed by White House calls for Republican action, which were followed by Republican calls for Democrats to take up similar legislation that has stalled in the Senate. And that's how the political rhetoric will continue, when the sad reality is that the current situation entirely ignores the challenges being faced by veterans.
As a matter of principle - and regardless of one's views on the matter of politics or the military - returning U.S. military veterans should really be guaranteed jobs working for the government as civilians whenever they choose to leave the military. Without delving too deeply into philosophical issues and appeals to patriotism, veterans should likely be granted permanent priority over non-veteran applicants when it comes to jobs within the government at the federal, state and local levels.
This is not merely a feel-good solution, and it should definitely not be merely an attempt to make political hay. The advantages and efficiencies that former active-duty military personnel could bring to the bureaucracies that comprise all levels of U.S. government also make this a practical solution. Studies indicate that military personnel and ex-military men and women perform their post-military work with a greater sense of pride, duty and accountability. It's a difficult thing to measure, to be certain, but all indicators point to this as a reality.
With well-documented government waste and bloat at all levels, including entitlement programs, oversized pensions and seemingly endless corporate subsidies, it's actually difficult to fathom that veterans are not granted a more exalted place in the bureaucratic hierarchy. We are told that of all the groups to whom the government and every American owe a debt of gratitude, veterans stand alone at the top of the list. If this is the case, then that debt can surely be paid back via favorable status as a potential government employee.
But for this to happen, things need to change drastically in the way that veterans are acknowledged for their service and their sacrifices. Parades, medals, ceremonies and the like are all well and good, but if politicians are to keep their promises, they'll need to ensure that the worst that former active-duty military personnel are going to find on the job front is a well-paid government position with full benefits that will likely exceed anything available in the private sector. Many veterans will choose to bypass the option of working for the government, of course, and they will pursue gainful employment in the private sector instead. But they should never have to worry about whether or not they will be able to find a job, especially as they return from active duty in war zones.
When the economy is foundering as it is right now - and jobs are scarce - veterans continue to struggle to find gainful employment in staggeringly high numbers. With unemployment in the U.S. hovering around 9%, the latest released figures of unemployment among veterans is at 15.2%. If politicians are as concerned about the issue as they claim to be, something should be done about that in a hurry.