The President is expected to speak this morning at Washington’s Naval Yard about the importance of finding jobs for America’s veterans. Veteran unemployment is at an all-time high. The best way to solve the problem, however, is for Washington to change course.
The best advantage the nation ever gave a veteran in getting a job after serving the military is military service. Every post-war economic recovery experienced by the United States since the American Revolution was led by American veterans. They brought their skills, leadership, ingenuity, work habits, and values into the marketplace and made things happen. They were the entrepreneurs, the builders, the doers, the leaders, the managers that greased the skids of economic expansion. The one notable exception to that is the Vietnam War, where veterans came home to Jimmy Carter’s America—an economy that was chained down by recession, inflation, and dismal leadership. Not surprisingly, when the U.S. economy did rebound in the 1980s, many Vietnam-era veterans were rising captains of the economy.
If the President really wants to help veterans, he should stop framing the deficit challenge between a choice of massive tax hikes that will strangle the economy or gutting the nation’s defense. Instead, he ought to adopt a sensible strategy—like The Heritage Foundation’s Saving the American Dream plan—that would grow the economy, create jobs, rein in government spending, and provide for the common defense. That would help veterans a lot more than another presidential address.