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Friday, Sep 19, 2014
Letter of the Day

Military service no magic elixir

Published:

Regarding “Solving unemployment” (Other Views, Jan. 12):

We need to dispel this myth that two years of military service is the magic elixir to cure all of society’s ills.

Chuck Graham, in his letter, is of the mindset that two years in the military is some sort of cure for unemployment. Given that the Pentagon is now downsizing the military, why would we increase headcount by attempting to revive the politically unpalatable draft? Would that not reinforce the stigma of the military being the employer of last resort? We don’t need fresh troops for combat; we are not ramping up for another conflict — so why pad the ranks with warm bodies, which the taxpayers have to feed, clothe and train, probably at a greater expense than is paid via unemployment?

If we were to draft “those 18 and older who are not in college and drawing unemployment compensation,” would that include us in our 50s? Alternatively, is there an age cutoff? At what point does one become too old to participate in the solution?

This unthinking solution to unemployment obviously benefits, if anyone, only the young and, for the most part, unskilled. I do not think we can rely on the military to be a replacement for the middle-class jobs that no longer exist.

As it stands now, returning veterans are facing the harsh reality that military training — even combat service — does not necessarily open doors to employment. With record unemployment, make no mistake, returning veterans are facing an uphill battle. The Congressional Research Service notes that post-9/11 veteran unemployment rate is not only higher than the national average (which is not the norm), it is also higher than the overall veteran unemployment rate.

If anything, this underscores that military service is not always the life preserver that some want to believe it to be.

Dean S. Robinson

Tampa

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