To begin with my post, I believe that it is important to emphasize the great service that our veterans have given to us. They are the foundation of a fortified country that we have been able to build. Our armed forces fight each and every day for our safety and freedom and to protect our borders. Because of this the United States has been able to maintain itself as a key figure in international relations. Furthermore, I believe a strong armed forces has led the United States to become prosperous in other avenues including putting its citizens first as well as having one of the most prosperous economies in the world. Without the support of our armed forces I do not believe we would be in position we are today.
Following their service, many veterans return to the workforce in search of typical civilian jobs. I think that the country has solid programs in place in order to subsidize education for those that are willing to fight for our freedom through low cost or even free education. Despite this, I think that the United States may be a bit behind on finding jobs for veterans. My interest in the topic was sparked from an article that I used a few weeks back for our lecture’s blog posts. David Cooper, of The Economic Policy Institute Blog highlighted the topic of concern, that veterans continue to find themselves working jobs that barely pay enough money to live on. He states “In fact, of the roughly 10 million veterans working in America today, 1 in 10- that’s one million veterans- is paid wages low enough that they would receive a raise if the federal minimum wage were increased to $10.10 per hour”. This assessment by Cooper was startling to me because if anything those that have served in the armed forces should not have to struggle to make ends meet. These men and women served to protect us and our country, risking their own lives. After their time with the armed forces end I believe first, and foremost, there should be a more effective job placement system in effect that will correct these current issues.
It has been noted that a potential raise in the federal minimum wage would only benefit teenagers and students from affluent families. I see this statement as incorrect. My reasoning behind this is that I see it as an inaccurate depiction of the typical American minimum wage worker. These workers come from all backgrounds and do not solely incorporate a high school aged person working at the supermarket or a McDonald’s. These workers include veterans. Veterans that fall into this category are actually much different than the total sum of 27.8 million workers that would be affected by the raise in minimum wage. As one may expect, 80% of the veterans that would be affected by such an increase are male. In comparison, 55% of the total population that would be affected are female. Where the true difference lies, is in the age disparities between these affected veterans and the total population. Of the veterans that would benefit from a raised minimum wage, 40% are 55 years or older. Further proving this figure, nearly 2/3 of these veterans are 40 years or older. Compared to the total population affected, the values are 14% and 34% for the same age groups. This is shocking to me considering the extreme differences between the total population and our veterans. The age groups of veterans that would be affected are those that truly need to see a rise in minimum wage. They are the one’s who are more so relied upon by their families for financial support and it is not okay for them to be living below the poverty line.
The last driving point for me also is the differences in education level for veterans compared to the total population. Only 44% of the total population that would be affected by a raise in the federal minimum wage have some college experience. This value is significantly lower than the 60% of veterans who have the same college experience. Given that our society typically promotes pay based on a higher level of education among other factors, I think it is clear that a raise in minimum wage is a necessity. This injustice that has been brought on those fighting for our freedom is not right, and raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 by July of 2016 can help them out in achieving some future financial stability.