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Veterans Job Corps Initiative – FDR Would Be Proud

Veterans Job Corps Initiative – FDR Would Be Proud

 

Today’s announcement of the Veterans Job Corps initiative is taking a leaf out of a book written by FDR back in the 30s.  The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) took young men and put them to work building public edifices, roads and parks.  Two members of my family were in that group – my uncle was in it for 2 ½ years. He needed work while he saved to go to college.

My dad was in the WPA in the summer, in the architectural department building halfway houses and park shelters. As my dad said to me today, “those were the only jobs there were” during the Great Depression.  My uncle went on to serve in the Army, was wounded and decorated during WWII. My father is a very proud Coast Guard veteran of WWII.

We’ve been hearing for a while about veterans who were trained as Military Police, or had an MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) as a firefighter but who are forced to go through training again, even though they received training from the military and have actually done the job for years, some under combat conditions.  Many of them chose that training to help them get a job when they were released from the military, and many are members of the National Guard, who are activated to serve on a regular basis.

Many municipalities are laying off police officers and laying off firefighters because of budget cuts. From Miami to San Jose, from Jacksonville to the Chicago suburbs, police departments are being cut, and the crime numbers are climbing. Fire departments are scrambling to cover their cities and towns, with gaps in their ranks that will not be filled.  National parks are cutting their hours, some are even closing, because there simply aren’t enough rangers.  These parks are the crown jewels, these are the open space that we, as a people, decided should be put aside, protected and given to us as a nation. Allowing the park facilities to disintegrate is a shortsighted “savings.”

The  unemployment rate of young Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is an astronomical 13.1%.  With the threatened cuts in military, predicted to be close to 100,000 personnel, the rate will soar.  Doesn’t it make more sense to take these trained men and women and get them hired, helping the States and municipalities in turn and keeping our cities and towns safe, and our national parks open and healthy?

I see this proposal as a win/win.  The money it will cost will translate into a reduction of unemployment, an increase in payroll taxes since those employed veterans will have to pay taxes on their income, safer cities and towns, parks for everyone that are open, safe and useable.  As the President said today at the Virginia firehouse where he made the announcement, “They’ve already risked their lives defending America.  They should have the opportunity to rebuild America. We’ve got roads and bridges in and around our national parks in need of repair. Let’s fix them.”

For those who say these are “just” pick and shovel jobs, I can only say that our veterans want to work.  They want to bring home a pay check.  For those with advanced training, there will be jobs as tour guides, park rangers, historical site specialists, inner city park program directors and workers, conservationists at parks and construction crews.  As a bridge to other employment, or as a career, they are jobs.  And in our current economy, that’s a good thing.

 

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Photo from Defense.gov; by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.

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5:00PM PST on Feb 6, 2012

Anything that puts someone back to work now is a good things and our vets sure do need a break at this point...

7:59PM PST on Feb 5, 2012

We need jobs, and certainly the GOP in Congress has made no effort to create them. They can be expected to resist the creation of a jobs corp.

Obama needs to stand firm, set up the program, get people back to work, and improve not only everyone's opportunities, but the economy.

With any luck, the Teapublican obstructions who are trying to block every advance Obama backs or suggests will be the ones out of work in this time next year.

10:14AM PST on Feb 5, 2012

Anyone who says these job are only pick and shovel jobs are fools. These is great start in getting people back on their feet.

3:05AM PST on Feb 5, 2012

John C, FDR's work programs were amazingly successful. At the time, young men were riding the rails and living off the land to find work which didn't exist. There was nothing for them except hobo camps and starvation. Thanks to FDR's amazing young men we have a National Parks system which in all the world is nothing short of fantastic. The land was sickened by over use, no land husbandry to guide farmers back then. Erosion had spoiled our forests and streams. All this was corrected by the young men of this country. Stop denigrating national heros! And now, another POTUS has suggested a way to put other national heros back to work. To break down weapons of war into plow shares of peace, after another president murdered 4500 of them by sending them off to a bogus war based on lies. It's the least we can do for our returning vets.

11:38PM PST on Feb 4, 2012

Thanks for this article.

8:39PM PST on Feb 4, 2012

Reading between the lines last year, and having passed through the military discharge one, then on "inactive reserve" status, "invited" back for the Vietnam debacle in 62, and finally burning our after 21.5 years of that, discharge into 10 years of the "inactive" status again, lead me to form a little theory. STRICTLY MY OWN OPINION. Yes, the DOD is “bringing them home,” but it has a string tied to each one of them still fit to be pulled back on duty. Predictably, just as prior to almost every war we’ve fought since the revolution, right now our government is busy developing provocation (with credible deniability built in of course) to complete governmental change in the major eastern oil production states. To anyone who has not fallen down in the swoon of the “dumbed down” America, the familiar pattern may appear, the usual flurry of Stupid, er sorry, State Dept flitting about in large VIP aircraft with much hand-shaking, jaw exercising, and diplomatic double-speak. After that we see the “We’ve come to the end of our rope” act, no more diplomacy will work, followed by provocations, and then of course we retaliate.

8:39PM PST on Feb 4, 2012

Reading between the lines last year, and having passed through the military discharge one, then on "inactive reserve" status, "invited" back for the Vietnam debacle in 62, and finally burning our after 21.5 years of that, discharge into 10 years of the "inactive" status again, lead me to form a little theory. STRICTLY MY OWN OPINION. Yes, the DOD is “bringing them home,” but it has a string tied to each one of them still fit to be pulled back on duty. Predictably, just as prior to almost every war we’ve fought since the revolution, right now our government is busy developing provocation (with credible deniability built in of course) to complete governmental change in the major eastern oil production states. To anyone who has not fallen down in the swoon of the “dumbed down” America, the familiar pattern may appear, the usual flurry of Stupid, er sorry, State Dept flitting about in large VIP aircraft with much hand-shaking, jaw exercising, and diplomatic double-speak. After that we see the “We’ve come to the end of our rope” act, no more diplomacy will work, followed by provocations, and then of course we retaliate.

8:38PM PST on Feb 4, 2012

CHAPTER 2. In the case of Sadam, we used up a lot of munitions which were out of date, and would have been destroyed anyway, so not much loss there, and it looked good to the sheeple. Now militarily ruling two eastern countries G Bush was all for marching into Iran, making the Hitleresque mistake of the Russian 1940 era, even after he declared that the war was over. Now that Libya has been ‘liberated,’ the odor of the next two oil nations in the chain, Syria and Iraq, only two left, and we’re being provoked by both, which BTW are lead by terrible despots. I think, just my own warped mentality, mind you, that even though we have exhausted our weapons supply, and have no money to develop new ones, (Russia has been doing that quite successfully) surely someone in State is scratching the head, then picking up teh phone and saying “Why not Saudi by Xmas?” why not? Our history is filled wiht “allies” we deposed when we no longer had a use for them. Remember Manuel Noreaga in Panama? Our boy till he started costing us too much, then he provoked us, and we set him up for free home and board for life.
It is a shame to think that with able bodied veterans laboring on much needed infrastructure, that the financial information accompanying the money to pay them can be used to snatch them back any time, into whatever military job is meted out to them.

7:45PM PST on Feb 4, 2012

First, those in the military that would be released without really wanting to leave have a job now so why another “government” program to “train’ them for something else or employ them at some make work job? They’re already trained for a government job and we would be paying anyway! Second, if we don’t need them for other deployments we could use them on our southern border to supplement the Border Patrol. Third, FDR’s “Jobs Corps” (and subsequent clone programs) never worked! My dad went through the CCC program and ended up enlisting the Army Air Corps in 1940 since it was a dead end job in the CCC. He ended up an officer and served 21 years including in the European Theater in WW2. Looking at the “progressive” prescription for economic “recovery” I’m reminded of the movie “Groundhog Day” since the same ideological clowns keep applying the same failed approaches to reverse economic downturns and they never do!

7:42PM PST on Feb 4, 2012

You're right - this is a good thing!

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