Thursday, November 8, 2012

What the 2012 Presidential Election means for Veterans

Honoring American Veterans
What does 2012 Presidential Election outcome mean for Veterans? During the campaign, Governor Romney suggested that the Pentagon was budget-cutting too deeply. The (reelected) President, Barack Obama, replied that the cutting were reviewed and approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Two opposing viewpoints, yet the fiscal budget became a hotbed issue for both sides. Here is what we know.

The economy moved to the forefront of the political landscape. In my opinion, this is a good thing for Vets. Why, because the unemployment rate for Veterans is above the national average. "Bayonets and Horses," said POTUS. A decade of war; at what cost?

Medical Treatment

The Department of Veterans Affairs' Healthcare services has the primary responsibility for Veteran medical care. These services include: health care information overview, prescription services, mental health services, and medical care (inpatient & outpatient). However, not all health care may be covered. Without being too specific, the VA uses an eligibility rating system for Veterans that is governed by Federal law. C-Span recently weighed in on this issue of Health care reform (aka ObamaCare), the election campaign, and Veteran call-in response(s). One Disabled Veterans responded that he was switching his vote to Mr. Obama because ObamaCare will cover certain medical conditions that were not part of his VA covered benefits.

Jobs

President Obama signed Executive Order 13518 - The Veterans Employment Initiative - in 2009. Rather than summarize the gist of the E.O., the first & second sections of the order are listed below.
By the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 301 of title 3 of the United States Code, I hereby order as follows:
Section 1Policy. Veterans have served and sacrificed in defense of our Nation. When they complete their service, we must do everything in our power to assist them in re-entering civilian life and finding employment. Government as well as private employers should play a prominent role in helping veterans who may be struggling to find jobs. As one of the Nation's leading employers, the Federal Government is in need of highly skilled individuals to meet agency staffing needs and to support mission objectives. Our veterans, who have benefited from training and development during their military service, possess a wide variety of skills and experiences, as well as the motivation for public service, that will help fulfill Federal agencies' staffing needs. It is therefore the policy of my Administration to enhance recruitment of and promote employment opportunities for veterans within the executive branch, consistent with merit system principles and veterans' preferences prescribed by law. The Federal Government will thereby help lead by example in promoting veterans' employment.
Sec2Council on Veterans Employment. There is hereby established an interagency Council on Veterans Employment (Council), to be co-chaired by the Secretaries of Labor and Veterans Affairs. The Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) shall serve as Vice Chair of the Council.  (a) Mission and Function of the Council. The Council shall:  (i) advise and assist the President and the Director of OPM in establishing a coordinated Government-wide effort to increase the number of veterans employed by the Federal Government by enhancing recruitment and training;  (ii) serve as a national forum for promoting veterans' employment opportunities in the executive branch; and  (iii) establish performance measures to assess the effectiveness of, and submit an annual report to the President on the status of, the Veterans Employment Initiative described in section 3 of this order. 

Financial Reform

Who recalls the 2009 U.S. economic meltdown. Housing foreclosures, small business failure, massive job losses, and bank insolvency. The theme that is most remember was "Too Big [Banks] to Fail!" We couldn't allow the big banks to go out of business...hence, the Great Bailout!

As a result, the President along with Congress, passed the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act on July 21, 2010. A major component of this Act, was the creation of a Federal agency dedicated to the financial education and regulatory enforcement of issues related to the commerce of consumers. The agency created was the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
The central mission of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans — whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products.         
Moreover, The CFPB added a dedicated department, The Office of Servicemember Affairs, headed by Holly Petraeus. The OSA sees its consumer finance education efforts for Veterans as being smart about accessing your VA benefits, and the solution as:
Information and access to all your VA benefits are available online through the Department of Veterans Affairs. You can also obtain your Certificate of Eligibility for your VA Home Loan Guaranty through the eBenefits portal. All military personnel and veterans can register for access to a variety of information to assist in understanding all your benefits.
If you don’t register until after you separate from the Armed Services, you may need to visit a VA service location to validate your credentials before registering. If you register while you are serving, you can save a trip and keep the same account for life.

Bottom Line

Nations that neglect to honor, remember, and serve their Veterans (alive or dead) do a disservice to itself. Most U.S. Presidents realize this truth...perhaps because they serve and wear the title of Commander-in-Chief. One of the most famous Presidential quotes, regarding Veterans, is that of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln said:
Abraham Lincoln: “The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.” 
This Veterans Day, honor a Vet by saying, "Thank You for Your Service!" 


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