According to the Associated Press (AP), President Barack Obama is asking Congress to approve new initiatives to help some of America’s 1 million unemployed military veterans find work, including tax credits for companies that hire out-of-work vets.
The proposal is part of the President’s efforts to return to a focus on jobs after spending weeks fighting with Tea Partista terrorists in Congress who held raising debt ceiling hostage for most of the summer.
Last month’s jobs report was dismal, with the country’s unemployment rate ticking up to 9.2 percent and job growth slowing nearly to a halt.
The White House reportedly says the sluggish economy creates additional challenges for veterans looking to enter the civilian labor market. About 1 million veterans are unemployed, according the administration, including former 260,000 service members who joined the military after the 9-11pt, and the administration sets the unemployment rate for the post-Sept. 11 service members at about 13.3 percent.
The main features of the President’s proposal, according to administration officials, are two tax credits for companies hiring unemployed veterans:
– A “Returning Heroes” tax credit for 2012-2013. Companies that hire unemployed veterans would receive a $2,400 tax credit. That tax credit would increase to $4,800 if the veteran has been unemployed for six months or more.
– A two-year extension of the “Wounded Warriors” tax credit, which gives companies that hire veterans with service-related disabilities a $4,800 credit. If the veteran has been unemployed for six months of more, the tax credit increases to $9,600.
The tax credits would require congressional approval. Administration officials said the White House would start working with lawmakers on the proposal after Congress returns from its recess in September, with the estimated cost of the tax credits being $120 million.
President Obama will reportedly challenge private companies to hire or train 100,000 veterans by the end of 2013. He is expected to name some companies that already have committed to taking part in that effort.
The president also will announce a joint initiative between the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments to come up with a “reverse boot camp” program that would help train service members for the civilian workforce as they wind down their time in the military.
It will be interesting to see how the Republican Tea Partistas (GOTP) in Congress and those running for the party’s presidential nomination will react to these proposals; no doubt some will attack claiming we don’t have money to support any additional spending. To that sort of claim the President should then say the money will come from a tax on all corporations who made money hand over fist (Haliburton) while Americans fought and bled – and continue to fight and bleed – in Iraq and Afghanistan. You can’t fight a war and not pay for them, and a big part of that cost is taking care of veterans after the fight is over.