Washington, D.C. – As our nation winds down two wars and hundreds of thousands of veterans come home, too many of them are returning to poverty, homelessness, and levels of unemployment higher than that of the civilian population. Today Half in Ten and the Center for American Progress Action Fund hosted an event to discuss how smart budget choices can help protect our veterans—the very people who have served to protect our nation—from crippling levels of unemployment, homelessness, and poverty.
The programs that serve veterans are at risk as Congress considers strategies to cut our nation’s deficits. Under the debt ceiling deal reached last August, programs such as veteran training and employment services and housing for homeless vets will be automatically cut by 9.1 percent in January 2013 unless Congress acts. What’s more, many of our investments that spur job creation and ensure that struggling families can meet basic needs will take an equal hit, affecting veterans and nonveterans alike.
At the same time many in Congress are insisting we protect spending on defense programs that do nothing to enhance our national security—even if it means deeper cuts to veterans services and policies that strengthen the middle class. Are they really willing to keep funding for yet another nuclear missile—particularly given our existing arsenal’s tremendous size—when the same funding would prevent a big cut to job training for veterans?
The United States faces critical choices and trade-offs as it wrangles over the right way to cut its long-term deficits. We outline the budget trade-offs below between keeping funding for defense programs we don’t need or programs that help veterans and our middle class.
There is a way forward. Without undermining our national security, we can reduce the unprecedented level of baseline defense spending and invest in growing our middle class here at home to build jobs and opportunity for veterans and nonveterans. We owe our returning heroes at least that much.
To speak with experts on this topic, please contact Madeline Meth at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.741.6277.