By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 7, 2011 — A tax credit for companies that hire military veterans could be the next step in helping the acutely underemployed group, President Barack Obama suggested yesterday in his Twitter town hall meeting.
The president addressed many economic issues surrounding his theme of how to reduce the federal deficit, and was asked about jobs for veterans while fielding questions submitted on Twitter.
A Twitter user asked the president, “Can you give companies a tax break if they hire an honorably discharged veteran?”
That, Obama said, is a subject he’s discussing with his staff.
“We’ve got all these young people coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan [who] have made incredible sacrifices [and] have taken on incredible responsibilities,” the president said.
“You see some 23-year-old who’s leading a platoon in hugely dangerous circumstances, making decisions[and]operating complex technologies. These are folks who can perform. But unfortunately, what we’re seeing is a lot of these young veterans have a higher unemployment rate than people who didn’t serve. And that makes no sense.”
The president said one idea under discussion is to combine a tax credit for companies that hire veterans with a campaign to get private companies to “do the right thing” and hire additional veterans.
An outreach program to hire veterans already exists in the federal government, the president noted.
“We’ve [put] huge emphasis on ramping up our outreach to veterans and hiring veterans,” Obama said, “and this has been a top priority of mine.
“The notion that these guys who are sacrificing for our freedom and our security end up coming home and not being able to find a job, I think, is unacceptable,” he added.