Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Don't Forget To Hire A Vet

I happened to come across an article written for a men’s fashion magazine called Details by a writer named Ben Chase, and it had to do with the job search difficulties faced by returning veterans from the Iraq War; the article was called “Soldier of Misfortune.” It was excellent, but I can’t find it online at the moment. If you can pick up the magazine and read the article, I recommend it highly.

Mentioned in the article was the fact that Philadelphia, PA U.S. House Representative Allyson Schwartz has introduced legislation, along with Repug Joe Schwarz of Michigan, called the Veterans Employment and Respect Act that would provide up to $2,400 in tax credits to companies that hire returning Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans.

Update: Oops, it looks like the Schwartz bill will need a new co-sponsor (if the voters in Schwarz's district aren't rich, then they're drop-dead numbskulls for supporting a Club For Growth candidate).

This should be a no-brainer, right? As the Details article explained, our service people can learn leadership skills performing the most dangerous tasks imaginable in wartime, assuming they aren’t killed, injured, or taken hostage, of course. Wouldn’t employers value those abilities?

The individual in the Details article whose name escapes me said that it took him about nine months to find a job that enabled him to break into the field of graphic design, though he knew that he could sign on for another hitch in Iraq and make much better money doing much more dangerous work (and also earn big money in Iraq doing dangerous work outside the skill set he was trying to develop). However, he declined and stayed in his stateside job, which was the equivalent of entry-level grunt work beneath what he’d done in his military service, because, as he put it, he figured he’d have a less difficult time in Iraq than he would trying to look for another stateside job again (which is perfectly typical based on what I know; the enormous difficulty of searching for a good job now is probably the most under-reported or outright ignored story by our august corporate media in this decade, both for veterans and everyone else).

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Veterans Employment and Respect Act is (you guessed it) stuck in the House Ways and Means Committee, and it has been since March of 2005.

The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee is Repug Bill Thomas of California, who just helped railroad through a pension “reform” bill (as I said earlier, it will favor younger workers only slightly while costing older workers closer to retirement). If you want to ask him when he’s going to “pull the stick out” and get moving on the Veterans Employment and Respect Act (and maybe ask him why he’s calling the Capitol police in the face of “disruption” by 75-year-old Democratic House Rep Pete Stark, as well as why Thomas once tried to get rid of employer-based health insurance), click here.

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