01.13.2012 1

U.S. Veteran’s unemployment rate soars above 13 percent

By Rebecca DiFede — In the 236 years since its birth, our great nation has been involved in a great many battles that have forever changed the course of history, both for us and for our allies and foes. Needless to say, America wouldn’t be what it is without the brave men and women who sacrificed everything to fight for our freedom.

Recently, President Obama ended the war in Iraq and welcomed home thousands of brave young Americans. However upon their return home and start of their transition into civilian life, they were faced with a startling realization: there are no jobs.

According to a press release from Generation Opportunity, a non-profit dedicated to helping Americans create a better future, unemployment around veterans aged 18-29 has increased to 1 in 3 for the last quarter of 2011, up from 1 in 5 in the last quarter of 2010.

The overall unemployment rate for young veterans rose to a whopping 13.1 percent at the end of December, and 43 percent of those employed are unsatisfied with their current employment. These are the people whose decision to serve helped ensure that our Constitution still has meaning, and meanwhile they struggle to find jobs in an economy that’s barely afloat.

Only 36 percent of veterans aged 18-29 believe that there is the right leadership in Washington, and a hefty 69 percent think current leadership fails to represent their interests. Yet another example that illustrates the tides of favor slowly beginning to pull away from the shores of our illustrious president.

2012 has begun, and the battle for control of the high seas of this nation is a tough one. With our captain failing to make good on his promises time and time again, it seems that the smell of electoral mutiny is in the air.

As more and more of our nation’s youths fall into unemployment — 77 percent of whom already  have or will delay a major life change because of economic reasons — thus increases the already widespread dissatisfaction with the current administration.

However this situation should be distressing for President Obama for more reasons than just that of the loss of enthusiasm for his campaign, but also because this demographic is not only a part of the future of this country but also because they are part of a revered group of people.

These are veterans, and they should be the last people left out in the cold, especially when much of this embarrassing unemployment statistic is due to his $500 billion defense budget cut.

That’s right. Those veterans returning home from Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere are coming home to less pay and benefits because their Commander in Chief has ordered a trimming of the fat of the Pentagon budget, claiming that sacrifices need to be made if the deficit is to be reduced.

However contrary to popular (read: liberal) belief, 80 percent of the defense budget goes not to our weaponry, but towards training and providing benefits to our men and women in arms. And despite the cries to reduce this money now that the war in Afghanistan has ended, because Americans think it was a drain on the economy, the defense spending currently only represents 20 percent of the entire federal budget and is less than 5 percent of our gross national product.

So get a grip, America. It’s not the war that’s bleeding you dry, it’s your administration with its failing overfunded expenditures.

Did you know that the food stamp program was expanded to include one-seventh of the entire United States, costing taxpayers $63 billion this year alone? And with the additions to Medicare and Social Security, nearly $5 trillion dollars is shriveling up, while hundreds of thousands of veterans are without jobs or are underpaid.

This egregious oversight should be corrected immediately, lest the ever-widening cost of this venture prove larger than the gain.

Rebecca DiFede is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government.

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