Obama Plan for Vets Unemployment: Tax Cuts and Credentialing

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Obama Plan for Vets Unemployment: Tax Cuts and Credentialing

Sort of a bunch of things that add up to one comprehesive story today.  Please, PLEASE don't jump on here with comments that are irrelevant to the story.  But, let's start with some news stories from last week:

First, from USA Today on July 25th, the bad news:

More than 10,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are homeless or in programs aimed at keeping them off the streets, a number that has doubled three times since 2006, according to figures released by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The rise comes at a time when the total number of homeless veterans has declined from a peak of about 400,000 in 2004 to 135,000 today.

"We're seeing more and more (Iraq and Afghanistan veterans)," says Richard Thomas, a Volunteers of America case manager at a shelter in Los Angeles. "It's just a bad time for them to return now and get out of the military."

More bad news from USA Today on August 4:

College students who served in the military have a suicide attempt rate six times higher than the average college student, suggests research presented today at a meeting of the American Psychological Association. It found students who are veterans also report thinking about suicide or planning their death at significantly higher rates.

Researchers with the National Center for Veterans' Studies at the University of Utah surveyed 525 veterans, average age 26. Almost all (98%) had been deployed in either Iraq or Afghanistan and 58% to 60% reported experiencing combat.

Nearly half (46%) of the 415 men and 110 women studied reported having had suicidal thinking sometime in their lives; 20% had suicidal thoughts with a plan. That compares to 2010 data from the American College Health Association, which showed 6% of college students reported seriously considering suicide.

And now the good news: President Obama came out strong on this one (Reuters):

President Barack Obama on Friday proposed $120 million in new tax credits for businesses that hire U.S. veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan at a time of stubbornly high unemployment at home.

During a visit to Washington's Navy Yard, Obama unveiled a "reverse boot camp" program to help soldiers return to civilian life and set a goal for companies to hire or train 100,000 unemployed veterans and their spouses by the end of next year.

While many veterans who enlisted after the September 11 attacks returned from Iraq and Afghanistan and slid into the workforce, the president said, others have struggled to find a job "worthy of their experience and worthy of their talent."

I was actually supposed to be on CNN on Saturday to discuss it, but the horrific helicopter crash bumped the story.  Would have been nice to praise the President, because no matter how you feel about him, this is a top notch solution to the problem, and it should be praised. 

Another article in the AP lays out some of the other credentialling issues, which matches up neatly with what The American Legion has cooking:

The American Legion plans a national meeting on veterans' employment and credentialing in October.

"The tragedy is that veterans are often so qualified and have done so many amazing things that they can bring to employers. It is a missed opportunity for employers," said Joe Sharpe, director of the legion's economic division and an Army reservist with 28 years in the military.

Today's soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines work with advanced technology and often have useful management and communication skills, he said.

"The transition to leaving the military should start the day you enter the military. The private sector should be more involved in the training so they know what they will be getting when someone leaves the military," he said.

In other TAL news, here is a press release we put out today on one failure of an oft-used drug for PTSD at the VA:

American Legion National Commander Jimmie L. Foster says he is "greatly concerned" about the widespread use of an apparently ineffective medication by Department of Veterans Affairs' doctors treating patients with post-traumatic stress (PTS).

"It is alarming that fully 20 percent of the nearly 87,000 veterans VA physicians treated for PTS last year were given a medication that has proven to be pretty much useless," said Foster.

According to a study conducted by VA itself and published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Risperdal, an antipsychotic medication commonly prescribed to veterans with post traumatic stress when antidepressants have failed to help, does not alleviate the symptoms of PTS.

"Not only that," said Foster, "but Risperdal is not even approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of PTS." Only two medications, Zoloft and Paxil, both antidepressants, are government-approved to treat PTS, and neither drug, say researchers, is very effective at treating patients with a chronic form of the disorder.

"I am greatly concerned that veterans suffering the ‘invisible wounds of war' are receiving equally invisible care," said Foster.

The American Legion has been concerned about the misapplication of PTS medications for some time. Last year, the Legion appointed an ad hoc committee to investigate the efficacy of existing treatments for PTS and TBI (traumatic brain injury) and explore alternatives to improve the science. The committee comprises officers of the Legion, as well as lay, professional and government consultants. It convened its third meeting during the week of August 1. The JAMA article appeared on Aug. 3.

Among the speakers at the Legion's latest ad hoc committee meeting was Dr. Charles Hoge, who is considered to be one of the country's leading experts on PTS and TBI. From 2002 through 2009, Hoge - a retired U.S. Army colonel - directed Walter Reed Army Medical Center's research on the psychological and neurological consequences of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. In light of the JAMA article, Hoge said he wondered if patients will continue to trust military and veteran medicine's handling of PTS cases. He asked, "Is there a resistance and reluctance among servicemembers and veterans to receive and continue their mental health care?"

Another committee consultant and longtime associate of the Legion is Dr. Jeanne Mager Stellman, Special Lecturer and Professor Emerita of Clinical Health Policy and Management at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "This is the second major study showing that the drug therapies given to tens of thousands of our nation's veterans for PTS are ineffective and are associated with a range of side effects (such as weight gain)," Stellman said. "It is time to clean this mess up (and) devote attention to the problem - not wait years for studies to be done, results to be published and still not have changes made."

Foster said he is urging Congress to conduct hearings on the ongoing difficulties being experienced by both the Department of Defense (DoD) and VA in the treatment of PTS, as well as TBI. He is also prompting both DoD and VA to speed up their research on the screening of PTS and TBI cases and the treatment of them. "Accelerated research, however, must be balanced with great care and absolute accuracy," said Foster.

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Guess anything is better than nothing. How much is a company going to get for highering a vet??? Out of the 120 mil?? I got out in 07 just as the job market started to fail. Lucky got a job. And three years later got laid off from the space center. Economy stinks. What's going to stop companiesfrom screwinthe system. Higher a vet for 90 days lay them off and higher a dif. Vet just to get more money. What is Obama going to actually do to help vets? Not just employeers .... men and woman give years of there life to fight for thisgreat country and come back and can't even get jobs. Because of the crap going on in this country.

Let's be real here. Most of us vets are vets because we believed in the cause we were fighting at the time. The reality is that since my war, Viet Nam, most of these wars have been about protecting big corporations assets. We protect them then come home, they get compensation for hiring us, then fire us, then get compensation for hiring a new vet. The whole thing is all wrong

I am an older vet (Viet Nam era) and I have been out of work for almost a year due to this bozos kensyian economics. It looks like we Viet nam vets will be passed over again just like before when the same people that were spitting on us and calling us baby killers are now ruining the country oops. Sorry running the country.

You said it brother, I went to Viet Nam to fight communists only to find they are now entrenched in our country; masquerading as politicians and media talking heads. One lies and the other swears to it. The conservatives wonder why they can't stop being positioned (demonized) by the Dems; it's because the media skews their message or outright supresses it. And the general public eats it up like Soilent Green with their dinner, disguised as the evening news. Thomas Jefferson told us that within two hundred years we would have to defend ourselves from our own government and I fear he may be right. Remember, we all swore to defend this country against all enemies foreign and domestic and I hope it does not come to that.

The economic system being used at present is NOT Kensian. The basis of John Maynard Keynse' theory is that workers who have money spend it to pay bills and pay for goods and services. This keeps money in circulation, and, eventually, percolated up. The theory in use by the present, mainly republican congress (from which all spending bills must originate), is based on Rand Objectivism (RO). RO postulates that money trickles down from the rich, who are wiser and better able to make decisions than the rest of us because they are rich (circular logic). Because Alan Greenspan sold this theory to Ronald Reagan who implemented it. Those who took Econ 101know better.
Adam Smith said that value (ie: money) starts with a raw material which becomes valuable when labor is added. For example, a stick, lying on the ground, has no value until someone picks it up and hands it to someone who whittles it into clothespins.
Ayn Rand who had NO training in economics, wrote a NOVEL, Atlas Shrugged. Most people read it in their late teens and outgrow it in their twenties.

My faith in the adage about "Even a blind hog finds(whatever it was) once in a while" is renewed. It is admittedly not a lot, but it's a start. Vets in my era (Vietnam) returned to scorn and disparagement, which in some cases did to them what combat could not. The idea of a "reverse boot camp" combined with a sincere and individual-specific psychological approach, would probably help a large percentage of homecoming vets to re-acclimatize themselves. These are the smartest, best-trained, most savvy young individuals this country has ever produced. It would be a shame to lose such a national asset through government ineptitude. The worst that can happen is what's BEEN happening.

Bookdad and Windwalker - Our government is the only thing to protect us from the global American enriched corporatists - today's King, the one we fought against in the Revolution. Our Revolution created our Government, the only way we can fight against the King, the one with all the money, the global American enriched corporatists, not communism because we can freely pray, and we can freely plan, but we have to wake up to our Government's policies, and change them when our Government's policies devastate us! As they have been since 2000. That's what we need to get upset about - not this "communism" nonsense! http://economyincrisis.org/content/americas-fall-post-industrialism

I checked out the link you posted, rather eye opening. I work in the Public sector but have also worked in the Privet sector, and what I read from the link...as I said, eye opening. To me the problem is that Government is giving solutions without acknowledging the problem but then when politicians get paid from the elite to vote one way or the other someone is bound to get hurt. It is time for all of us to realize what is happening before this nation become a third world, and China is our government. I state this in the fact that China holds the largest of our debt notes (from my Business World Economics class) and the government is trying to hide that fact. I don’t think that the American worker is lazy...I think the American worker is looking for work where none exists. To bring back manufacturing would be good but we need to be environmentally conscience about this. I also think that these Trade agreements were good in intention but lacked in planning and that IS the fault of the Government at the time of the agreement.
Thanks for the link I really enjoyed it.

As a Vietnam Era Vet when I returned home I was treated as a piece of trash . Even by my own father who incidently served during World War Two . What I experienced in Vietnam scarred me for life . This
was before PTS became the new treatment for returning vets . I received consuling meds and a whole
host of new drugs to help me regain my life . Unfortunately none of this crap worked ! Booze and drugs only made matters worse ! The nightmares and faces from my past only added to the miserable
life I was facing .. So now many years in the future we discover that the treatment the VA was offering
was useless .
Over the years I have managed to return to some semblembance of a balanced life . I married had
children and worked for state government for over thirty years . Am I a success story ? Not really !
I still habve memories of my brothers who did not return . The nightmares are more infrequent now
but to some extent still there . Little insignificant things may ignite the memories . Do I need more
consuling ? No been there done that ! What can I tell returning vets from this useless inane war . Hold
true to your beliefs and suck it in . Get on with life the best you can . Ignore all the political bull shit
and try and push the experiences of war behind you . It's not an easy road but you can attain it . With
all the wars & police actions we have experienced over the years we are all brothers & sisters of war
and stronger for it !!

God bless our Great Nation. Lord, let America Rise from this Liberal leader in the White Houe , to a Greater Nation Still!

Is there anything for Veitnam Vets other than "playing Crazy"or PTSD...
I've been having problems maintaining JOBS and I distrust EVERYONE

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.