January 15, 2013

Editorial: Veterans: a great bargain


---- — We’re gratified to see that Sen. Chuck Schumer won his battle to have tax credits for companies hiring veterans included in the agreements to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

In 2011, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law a measure that would allow companies that employ veterans to receive a tax credit of up to $9,600 per veteran, depending on length of employment and whether the employee has a service-related disability.

When veterans returned home after World War II, America virtually couldn’t wait to provide them with jobs and other means to re-integrate them into as comfortable a life as possible. They were truly returning heroes.

After Korea, veterans were treated with less adulation but were still given strong economic incentives to restore their civilian life.

Vietnam was a different story. Because the war was so controversial on Main Street, the veterans were viewed by some more as conspirators against America than true heroes.

With the wars in the Middle East, rank-and-file Americans have turned full circle in their view of veterans. School groups mail packages to anonymous soldiers, sporting events feature moments of silence for military members throughout the world, and when veterans come home, they can expect a nation to go out of its way to show its appreciation.

This is as it should be, although, when you stop and think about it, hiring veterans makes more sense than just tax breaks.

What do you get when you hire a military veteran?

You get somebody who has been indoctrinated into a system second to none in creating respect for duty and chain of command. Veterans understand that any system works best with discipline in place. They know by personal experience that each individual needs to be subordinate to the whole if the whole is to function well.

Many have performed successfully under the very worst of circumstances. They have faced the possibility of death and prevailed. They have endured the worst working conditions imaginable. They have proven themselves physically, mentally and emotionally tough.

Veterans have a breadth of experience in many aspects of life that is unmatched for anyone never connected with the military. They have had to develop resourcefulness with the ultimate stakes on the line.

Veterans are a bargain, all right, with or without the tax breaks the government will now offer employers. But, with tax breaks thrown into the deal, it’s no contest.

Veterans are a dream come true for prospective employers.