Supporting Our Veterans Back Home – Sponsored Video

Blue Angel In The SkyMy grandfather served in World War II and my father served in Vietnam. I on the other hand, served in no wars, making me itch for ways to give back. I feel a little unworthy as so many brave men and women each year serve to protect us back home. Perhaps bringing to light Veteran issues on this platform can help.

It’s a shocker to discover there are over 130,000 homeless veterans in America today (new reports show the figure is down by 48% since 2008 to roughly 62,000). It’s also a big disappointment to read our troops struggling to find work when they return. When a representative on behalf of Jeep contacted me to sponsor this post as we wait for the resolution of the Fiscal Cliff, I happily obliged in order to continue raising awareness. The original Jeep Bantam BRC became the primary light 4-wheel-drive vehicle of the United States Army and Allies during World War II.

In the Spring of 2012, President Obama proposed the Veterans Jobs Corps Act. The price tag for such help came at an additional $1 billion dollars a year for the already $109 billion VA budget for 2013. Does $1 billion or even $110 billion sound like a lot? It depends, given we spent $1 trillion fighting in Iraq and $3-$4 trillion if we include our fights in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Suddenly, spending 1/40th the amount we spent on three wars to help our soldiers doesn’t seem like much at all. What the spending ratio tells me is that there is a way for the US government to do more if they choose. Here is some information from WhiteHouse.gov on what they are doing for Veterans.

THE VETERANS JOBS CORPS

• Provide incentives to hire veterans as first responders: The President announced $166 million in 2012 Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Grant funding and $320 million in 2012 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants.

• Provide veterans to protect Americans as first responders and law enforcement officers:  Hiring veterans as police officers and firefighters is synergistic with Veteran military training.

• Puts veterans to work preserving and restoring America’s land and resources: The President proposed $1 billion to develop a Veterans Job Corps conservation program that will put up to 20,000 veterans back to work over the next five years protecting and rebuilding America.

• Supports veteran entrepreneurship by building our next generation of small business leaders:  An expansion of entrepreneurship training opportunities for separating service members and veterans.

Initiatives So Far

• Created two new veterans’ tax credits:  In November 2011, the President signed into law two new tax credits for hiring veterans, both of which were included as part of the American Jobs Act. The Returning Heroes Tax Credit provides an incentive of up to $5,600 for firms to hire unemployed veterans and the Wounded Warrior Tax Credit doubled the existing tax credit for long-term unemployed veterans with service-connected disabilities to $9,600.

• Challenged the private sector to hire or train 100,000 veterans and their spouses by 2013:  Since the President issued his challenge to the private sector in August 2011, more than 40,000 veterans and the spouses have been hired and 1,500 companies have committed to hire or train 135,000 veterans and their spouses by the end of 2013. First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden are leading the initiative.

• Increased access to intensive reemployment services:  Post-9/11 veterans are now able to download the Veteran Gold Card, which entitles them to enhanced reemployment services including six months of personalized case management, assessments and counseling at the roughly 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers located across the country. This will help serve the 250,000 unemployed Post-9/11 veterans.

• Developed online tools to boost veteran employment: The Administration launched the Veterans Jobs Bank, an easy to use tool to help veterans find job postings from companies looking to hire them. It already searches over one million job postings and is growing.

It certainly seems like the President is taking a proactive approach in helping our Veterans!

ALMOST THERE

Unfortunately, the Veterans Job Corps Act died in the Senate Wednesday, Sept 17 on a procedural vote when 40 senators balked at the $1 billion price tag for a measure that would have provided employment for veterans in conservation work, in Veterans Affairs Department cemeteries, and helped in police and fire departments. Opposers said the bill was in violation of the Budget Control Act, prohibiting new programs that would add to the deficit.

As we head into 2013, it’s important we are all aware that the government seems unable to optimize the existing VA budget or spend more money on our Veterans. Hence, it’s up to the private sector, who creates the most jobs for our economy, to help where they can. I’m more than wiling to hire a Veteran for freelance writing, design, or technical work here at Financial Samurai, so please let me know if you’re interested.

Next up is a recap of my 2012 predictions. I’ve been waiting until Dec 31 because my S&P 500 market prediction depends on a last minute federal budget agreement. Enjoy the video.

Regards,

Sam

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

You can sign up to receive his articles via email or by RSS. Sam also sends out a private quarterly newsletter with information on where he's investing his money and more sensitive information.

Subscribe To Private Newsletter

Comments

  1. Mike Hunt says

    Actually I am writing from Vietnam- a good country but one where the US probably shouldn’t have been so closely involved for so many years… only to cut and run in the mid 70′s and let the Southern Vietnam people suffer from their former enemies…

    I am all for taking care of our veterans but shouldn’t we also look at pulling back on the extended reach of our military? Do we still need so much military presence in places like South Korea and s many places in the Pacific, plus Europe?

    The global world is getting pretty rich… so maybe the model of the USA being the world policeman needs to evolve… with savings from scaling back we can create better veterans benefits and still reduce our expenses. We need some leadership to put these ideas forward.

    -Mike

    • Financial Samurai says

      Mike, hope you are enjoying Vietnam! You bring up a big issue about the US being the world police. Surely a lot of resentment has come about because of it.

      The US will always have their Allies with Europe. I bet China’s growth and it’s influence around Asia is what concerns US foreign policy most. If everybody has everybody’s best interests at heart, all would be good. Nobody wants WWIII.

    • David M says

      Mike,

      I agree with your point about the Vietnam war AND the US being the police officer of the world.

      Lets cut the # of people in the military and lets do a better job staying out of unecessary wars – we can then use the saved $ to decrease our budget deficet and/or increase spending on othes parts of the military – like the deparment of veterans affairs or in other government programs.

      As for Vietnam and the Vietnamese – A great county with great people. The only place were I did not feel comfortable/welcome was at the war museam in Saigon/HCMC. This museum was created in the 1970 and has not changed since.

      • Mike Hunt says

        I am in Saigon at the moment and will check out the War Museum as well as the other local attractions. The French influence here is pretty nice, and the people seem pretty friendly.

        Am sensing a slight bit of overcharging of foreigners but that is usually the case until you become more familiar with the system.

        -Mike

        • David M says

          Enjoy!

          I love the sandwiches, pho and fresh spring rolls of Vietnam!

          Were I never felt overcharged and the people are so wonderful – Laos. If possible you should definitely visit.

        • Mike Hunt says

          Laos is great- been to Luang Prabang before and it was very chill.

          So I went to the War Museum… very one sided and certainly Anti-American.

          I can offer the following comments:

          1. The winners write the history. As the North Vietnamese did come out as the victor then they can write the story as they wish.

          2. It is easier to blame foreigners (Americans…) for all the problems, rather than blaming the internal strife of a civil war.

          Anyway, it’s sad all around. For sure the drone attacks are causing the same type of grief / injuries to families and that is happening today.

          -Mike

        • Mike Hunt says

          Sam, please look me up when you come out to Thailand- you can email me at the address provided…

          David M- I have been to Sri Lanka many times (for work and for fun) and also enjoy it… Kandy is a great town and so is Nuwara Ellia- the Sri Lankan people are nice folks.

          -Mike

      • Financial Samurai says

        David, I’ve never been to Laos, so I’ll have to check it out! I’d like to make the entire Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam trip in 2013.

        Mike, interesting comments after the War Museum visit. Thanks for sharing your feedback.

        • David M says

          I hope you make the trip – and include Laos in your trip. You can easily cross all of the borders between the countries by land and/or by air. Since you are now “retiired” I hope you find the time to visit this part of the world next year.

          I just came back from my annual trip – 30 days in Sri Lanka – it was different. It is similar to India in many ways but also very different in other ways. The hassle factor in Sri Lanka is MUCH lowere than it is in India – one big plus. Also, everyone is always smiling in Sri Lanka – I call it the “land of Smiles” – even though that title has already been given to Thailand.

  2. Untemplater says

    Thank you to all the veterans and troops! It’s incredible what they do for our country. I know several military families and they are all fantastic people. I hope they’ll get a similar veterans job corp act to pass. It makes me sad that so many vets can’t find work. I just don’t understand it.

    I didn’t realize the “original Jeep Bantam BRC became the primary light 4-wheel-drive vehicle of the United States Army and Allies during World War II.” I used to want a Jeep Cherokee so much when I was in high school but never got one. I’ve seen some of their newer cars at the auto shows that come through SF and they have a nice fleet.

    • Financial Samurai says

      I didn’t realize the Jeep was the vehicle of the US Army during WWII as well.

      I love the latest Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo. It looks sweet and is perfect for going up to Tahoe during the window. My friend in college had one.

  3. krantcents says

    This is a huge problem! We ask people to serve in the military and we do almost nothing when they return. Physical and mental injuries are just a couple examples. Many soldiers return with visible and invisible injuries and they are forced to fight for their benefits. The homeless and unemployed veterans should be a priority, but it isn’t. The returning vets of Vietnam were treated even worse. I saw it firsthand although I did not actually go to Vietnam. I was draftee who was stationed at USDB (U.S. armed forces prison)! It is sad to think, we need a program to encourage employers to hire vets. Why was it so different after WW II?

    • Financial Samurai says

      I spoke to my father about Vietnam and he gave me a lot of insights. Namely, it was a different time back then b/c there was a draft, and the government also allowed some folks to serve in the military or go to jail for whatever misdemeanor crime they made.

      Now, the military is 100% voluntary, which aligns interests. Yes, perhaps the military provides a way out for some who may not have done well in the private sector, but still I’m so for doing everything possible to help.

  4. Shilpan says

    It is sad that we forget those who fight to keep the unwavering freedom of America. These brave men sacrifice everything without expecting much. They indeed do the most noble act of selflessness, yet many of them are homeless.

    Four years ago, I wrote about World War I veterans. We don’t have many of those brave souls left so I feel that it is our utmost duty to do whatever to honor them for their sacrifices.

  5. Janna says

    Great post, Sam. It is a disgrace the way returning veterans are treated. It should be noted that those 40 senators that voted the Veterans Job Corps Act down were Republicans who thought it was more important to deny Obama any success than to support veterans.

    • Financial Samurai says

      September 2012 was clearly a contentious time due to the Presidential race. I understand the ideology behind not spending more, however, what’s $1 billion more to spend on our troops when we spent $4 trillion to fight three wars?

    • JayCeezy says

      @Janna, the Budget Control Act was signed by President Obama in 2011, requiring an equivalent cut in spending for each increase. Proposing the Veterans Job Corps Act violated the bill signed into law by the President after being voted on and approved by both Senate and Congress. I agree, $1 billion doesn’t seem like much at all, and it is a shame that an equivalent $1 billion could not be found to cut in a Federal Budget of $3.8 trillion for 2012.

      It almost looks like a cynical political trick, to propose a spending bill of 0.026%, and then claim the opponents are somehow against Veterans.

      But perhaps I need to have a bit more faith in our elected leaders, and their intentions. The fact that no Federal Budget has been passed in three years, and no Spending Bill approved, does not mean that they are not all sincerely looking out for the American people, and they certainly deserve their new raises.

      • Financial Samurai says

        I am shocked Congress is getting a pay raise in 2013 after not doing anything for three years. What about a PAY CUT? Getting a raise when you fail for 3 years in a row causes for dismissal in the private sector.

        I can totally see things happen as a political ploy. It’s a shame so much politics is played when real people’s lives are affected.

        • Janna says

          These guys… all 535 of them… are way overpaid for what they do. They earn more than 95% of us do… not to mention their excellent health plan, pension, and other perks….. Then they glibly talk about cutting so-called “entitlements” like Social Security. Maybe they should think about cutting their own entitlements. If they are to represent us, they should experience life a little bit more they way the average person does to better understand us. The rest of our important public servants (military, teachers, police, fire fighters, etc.) make so much less, and they are actually required to do their jobs. I just don’t get it. It should be an honor just to serve us. (LOL, I guess…)

        • JayCeezy says

          @Sam, maybe the raise will work as an incentive, so Congress can negotiate harder, talk more, and compromise better.

          btw, everyone will be happy to know that there has been an amazing reduction in the number of homeless veterans in just 4 years! On p. 4 of 24, you can see that there are now62,619 homeless veterans in 2012, only 48% of the 131,000 in 2008.

          So many things have improved since 2008, crime is down, terrorism is no longer a threat to the U.S., global warming is in remission for the past 16 years, etc. At least, that is what the numbers say!☺ Happy New Year to all!

  6. Brick by Brick Investing says

    As a former soldier myself I can tell you without a doubt that the majority of veterans are honest, mission focused and hard working individuals. While I do have my gripes about my time in the military I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.

    I have heard the argument that veterans are looking for handouts and that is why the Veterans Job Corps Act failed. I find that notion absolutely appauling. The problem is that the military doesn’t have a majority of jobs that are transferrable to the civilian sector. To be honest other than private security, what actual skills does an infantry soldier have over his peers who went to college or spent 4 years in the job market???

    These men and women have held more responsibility during their time in the military than some people will have their entire lives and I think they have EARNED the opportunity to receive some sort of formal training when they exit the military in order to be competitive with their peers. It is also reassuring to see a lot of companies (specifically small businesses) realizing the potential these soldiers have once they have the proper training for a specific job market.

    Great post!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *