Welfare veterans don’t need

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Earlier this month, the House of Representatives unanimously approved the Hire More Heroes Act, which would exempt businesses from counting newly hired military veterans toward the 50-worker threshold at which they must provide health insurance or pay a fine under the Affordable Care Act. Although the bill calls veterans “heroes,” it treats them as victims.

The logic behind the bill is simple: Why not give small businesses seeking to avoid the ACA’s “employer mandate” an incentive to hire veterans, who can get health-care coverage through Tricare and the Department of Veterans Affairs? And like most initiatives aimed at assisting military veterans, the bill is well intentioned. But as a matter of public policy, it is based on a faulty premise, sets a counterproductive goal and, on top of it all, is poorly named.Find Your Job at HireVeteran.com

Americans may be shocked to learn that there is no veterans’ unemployment crisis. The unemployment rate in 2014 for post-9/11 veterans was 7.2 percent, the lowest level in seven years of tracking these veterans.

Although post-9/11 veterans did have a higher rate of unemployment than the overall workforce last year – which was at 6.2 percent – the disparity is more attributable to the relative youth of those in this group rather than their military experience. In fact, compared with civilians in the same age ranges, post-9/11 veterans experienced lower rates of unemployment.

Meanwhile, the considerable resources that federal and state governments expend on direct programs and incentives for veterans’ employment produce mixed results at best. That’s because proponents of initiatives such as the Hire More Heroes Act fail to understand why and how companies hire talent in the real world.

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