This video from the USA says about itself:
The Veterans Administration hospital in Albuquerque is turning away veterans looking for seasonal flu shots after running out of the vaccine.
By Alex Lantier:
US: Returning veterans face mounting joblessness and low wages
29 March 2008
On March 25, the Wall Street Journal published a brief summary of a US Veterans Affairs Department study on discharged veterans’ employment and wage prospects. The report, not yet publicly released and largely blacked out in the broader US media, paints a devastating picture of surging unemployment and low wages for returning veterans.
It found that the percentage of veterans not in the labor force—due to unemployment, having returned to school for further training, or having given up looking for work—had more than doubled between 2000 and 2005, jumping from 10 to 23 percent. Veterans aged 20-24 had an unemployment rate of 12 percent, 50 percent larger than the overall US unemployment rate for adults aged 20-24, which stands at 8 percent. On March 27, the military newspaper Stars and Stripes, writing on the same report, noted that 18 percent of veterans reported being unemployed.
Many employed veterans earn salaries leaving them at constant risk of financial hardship. Twenty-five percent reported earning less than $21,840 a year. Half of those aged 20-24 earned less than $25,000 a year.
The report also exposed one of most commonly promoted claims of military recruiters: that recruits will gain valuable gain job skills for future civilian life. The Journal wrote: “The report found that most of the returning veterans were unable to find civilian jobs that matched their previous military occupations. The only exceptions were the veterans working for private security firms such as Blackwater or in the maintenance and repair fields.”
The Journal added: “The Veterans Affairs Department offers educational-assistance programs for young veterans, but the report said the initiatives had little impact on the employment status or salaries of the former military personnel.”
Several other sources noted difficulties facing veterans in looking for civilian jobs. Military.com, the veterans’ section of the online recruitment web site Monster.com, released a survey of veteran jobseekers and civilian employers in November 2007. The survey found that 81 percent of discharged veterans did not “feel fully prepared for the process of entering the job market,” with 71 percent unsure of how to negotiate salary and benefits and 76 percent reporting “an inability to effectively translate their military skills into civilian terms.”
The way these facts came to public attention—through the leaking of an internal report, which then went broadly ignored in the mainstream press—speaks volumes about the state of American political life and class relations.
As US fatalities reached 4,000 this past week, the death toll in the war and occupation of Iraq received a certain amount of coverage in the print and broadcast media. The number of wounded soldiers, however, is controversial and rarely discussed. And the difficulties facing returning veterans—the lack of jobs, financial insecurity, denial of health care, and homelessness—also receive little press coverage.
The problems of returning veterans are closely tied to the deteriorating situation of the broader American working class. They follow inevitably from the US military’s thrusting often traumatized veterans into a society marked by rising unemployment, deindustrialization, the destruction of high-paying jobs, and increasingly difficult access to health care, education, and housing.
As Ricky Singh of Black Veterans for Social Justice told OneWorld news service in November 2007, “What typically happens to young adults who go into the military at 17 or 18, when they return home, the same kind of economic conditions that forced them towards the military still exist or have gotten worse.”