November 7 2011

This is Not the Way to Honor Veterans

Sabrina Schaeffer

In honor of Veterans Day on Friday, President Obama will deliver remarks in the Rose Garden today to highlight a part of the American Jobs Act that would issue tax credits to businesses that hire veterans.

While I applaud the sacrifice made by our nation’s veterans and their families, I disagree with this approach to economic growth. This kind of government intervention into the marketplace assumes a “winners vs. losers” stance, in which lawmakers favor some at the expense of others. In this case: veterans vs. all other unemployed workers.  What’s more, blindly awarding businesses for hiring one group at the expense of another is an inefficient – and often economically wasteful – approach to spurring economic growth.

There’s a better way to encourage job creation, and that’s to leave it up to the private sector. Rather than lawmakers guessing at where businesses should allocate their resources, they should allow market forces to determine the most necessary projects and the best people for the job.

There is certainly value to programs that assist veterans in re-adapting to civilian life, learning how to transfer their military skills to civilian jobs, and assisting with further education and retraining. But if businesses look for talent and ideas – rather than, veteran status, gender, time unemployed – they are sure to find the best-qualified candidates, many of whom will be veterans.

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