Thursday, May 26, 2011

Are American War Veterans Lazy?

According to many conservative critics, Reagan economists, Fox News commentators, and Republican politicians, yes...they are. They think our Vets are not looking hard enough to find honest work, that they should all take two jobs at McDonald's to make ends meet, that there are plenty of jobs available if they would just get up off their fat lazy asses and look for one.

The Republicans think that they shouldn't receive any medical care or financial assistance or food stamps to see them through these unusually harsh economic times for ordinary folks...because after all, those are "government hand-outs". They liken social programs and safely nets to Socialist "entitlements". And just like Medicare and Social Security, Republicans would also like to end unemployment benefits in exchange for tax breaks for the rich.

Ben Stein thinks that most unemployed people have "poor work habits" and " poor personalities." Fox News' John Stossel thinks a vast number of jobless Americans are panhandlers and calls them "freeloaders". Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle thinks the jobless are "spoiled hobos". Republican senators such as Judd Gregg says unemployed American workers are "encouraged not to go look for work" and "don't want to go look for work". Republican Senator Orrin Hatch wants the jobless subjected to mandatory drug testing. Florida state Senator Nancy Detert wanted their UI department to "more closely scrutinize those applying for benefits to get rid of slackers and malingerers." Florida Republican governor Rick Scott thinks the jobless aren't looking hard enough and wanted to end benefits to give more tax breaks to the rich. Texas Republican representative Blake Farenthold compared Americans on unemployment insurance to alcoholics and drug addicts. Fox News' Glenn Becks calls them "un-American". (The list is too lengthily to include here).

Are most our U.S. war Veterans un-American lazy alcoholics?

The unemployment rate for veterans who served in the military at any time since September 2001 was 11.5%, and about 25% of Gulf War-era II veterans reported having a service-connected disability.

But if you break it down to young male veterans (those ages 18 to 24) who served during Gulf War Era, 21.9% were unemployed as of late last year - while the jobless rate of young male non-veterans was 19.7%.

Graduating from college doesn't guarantee anyone a job either. Employment rates for new college graduates have fallen sharply in the last two years, as have starting salaries for those who can find work. What’s more, only half of the jobs landed by these new graduates even require a college degree, reviving debates about whether higher education is really “worth it”. But still, one writer for the New York Times asks, "Are college grads too lazy to work?"

Another New York Times writers claims: "Economists had found that a large fraction of unemployed people delay going back to work solely because the unemployment insurance program was paying them for not working." Again, implying they were lazy. With a higher unemployment rate, might this also imply that our War Veterans are lazy as well?

"Lazy" is always the first, and most persistent, term that conservative news commentators, Republican legislators, and many ideological zealots use to describe millions of jobless patriotic Americans. This has always been the case, as it was during the Great Depression when FDR actually chided the country for this in one of his State of the Union addresses (or was it a fireside chat?)

Amid the violence of combat, many veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan never imagined the added stress they would face in trying to find work back home...let alone be called "lazy".

Unemployment among these recent veterans is higher than among the rest of the population and among military veterans overall, according to the latest U.S. Labor Department data. In April, as the country continued its "slow recovery" from the worst recession since the 1930s, the jobless rate among Iraq and Afghanistan vets was higher when compared with non-veterans.

Many of the unemployed are members of the National Guard and reserves who have deployed multiple times, and some come home to find their jobs have been eliminated because the company has downsized or outsourced. Other companies might not want to hire someone who could deploy again or will have medical appointments because of war-related health problems. Sometimes just the mere state of "being unemployed" keeps one from being called for a job interview (just as with age discrimination).

Too many men and women who have served their country so bravely now find themselves unemployed. About 1.5 million veterans are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing. Nationally, an estimated 107,000 veterans find themselves without a home each night.

With high unemployment, many older people were forced to take an early retirement at age 62 with reduced Social Security benefits, and many in their prime are applying for disability; but some Vets can qualify for their military pensions as early as 37 years old, and will have medical coverage and other benefits paid for through the Veterans Administration.

But the non-Vets have the Republicans going after Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security disability, and food stamps. But either way, corporate America is not only NOT creating enough domestic jobs for the Vets and everyone else, but they also want to end all the social programs for the very people that they put out of work or refuse to hire.

Does America really have a problem creating jobs that pay a "living wage", or are our military veterans (those who volunteered for boot camp to risk their lives in war) just reckless alcoholics, low-life drug addicts, uneducated morons, lazy hobos, lack the necessary job skills, and are not "mobile" enough - - - and who made bad decisions in their life, failed to plan ahead, and just preferred to collect unemployment benefits - as opposed to doing an honest hard day's work?

My father was a veteran of two wars (Korea and Vietnam), and he was the hardest working and most disciplined and responsible man I've ever known. Having grown up on a southern farm during the Great Depression, to him, laziness was a "Mortal Sin" - and he condemned those that were. So I can only imagine how our veterans must feel if they were every accused of this. If it were me, I'd be so angry I might want to take up arms against those who'd dare point their accusing finger at me*.

Are jobless American Vets really just "lazy", and that might be why 8 Republican controlled states are passing legislation to reduce or end federal unemployment benefits for them - just to give more tax breaks to the rich? Or are the ignorant conservative critics, Reagan economists, Fox News commentators, and Republican politicians just mean assholes? I for one, can certainly tell the difference.

* As for me? Read: What it Means to be Lazy (Written by a Lazy Man) and If I'm Lazy, then Fox News' John Stossel is Pretty. And for satire, read As America Digs Out, the Jobless Relax.


  1. Most republicans hate spending money on anything, including our veterans! Their hatred never stops!

  2. Never thought I woulsd see something like this but I have. A year or two ago, my friend told me republicans are against black people or anyone not white. I disagreed-not about race but rather being against poor people. I was pretty sure I was right and whoa-wish I wasnt.

  3. I posted a piece for "Caussade" at:

    No Training, not Job Skills, Complaints about Vets

  4. They are not lazy, they are stressed.