Jobless veteran numbers going from bad to worse
“Oklahoma City again posts lowest jobless rate for large cities” (News, Aug. 9) missed that the numbers are much tougher for veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that nearly 30 percent of male veterans between the ages of 18 and 24 are jobless. These numbers could soon go from bad to worse. The Pentagon plans to fire 100,000 troops in order to cut the Pentagon budget, without any concrete plans to pair them with good jobs. There also are proposals floating around Washington to raise veterans' health care premiums by more than 300 percent, making life even tougher for unemployed veterans.
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Of course, the Pentagon is just trying to cut spending and save taxpayer dollars. But why must savings come at the expense of veterans, particularly when defense experts say the Pentagon could save billions just by reforming the way it buys equipment? The Joint Strike Fighter, for example, is 75 percent over budget and expected to cost more than $1 trillion.
“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war,” said George Washington, “shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.” Mistreating our veterans today could shrink our military tomorrow.
Joseph F. Morgan, Washington, D.C.
Morgan is president and CEO of Veterans of Modern Warfare.
Readers wishing to respond to a letter to the editor can submit a response.