Sunday, August 07, 2011

A Nice Thought, An Ignorant Response

Now that the deficit mania has subsided, the other day President Obama commented

The problem is that right now we spend months preparing our men and women for life in the military, but we spend much less time preparing them for life after they get out. So we'll devote more time on the back end to help our veterans learn about everything from benefits to how they can translate their military training into an industry accepted credential. In addition, we'll make it easier for veterans to go to their local one-stop career center and get help pursuing a career that fits them best.

There are a lot of reasons to be skeptical about Obama's proposals, including a study, a "reverse boot camp," and $120 million in tax credits. Perhaps it should be applied to all citizens in hard-hit groups e.g., minorities, single mothers). Maybe it is unrealistic given the current cuts in discretionary spending recently legislated or is an inherently ineffective strategy. Or it might be more structural: with "free trade" deals, privatization, outsourcing, offshoring, immigration (though slowed in the economic slump), and companies deciding to cut down on their workforce to maximize profits, jobs just aren't there and veterans' benefits expendable.

But you knew- didn't you?- that Rush Limbaugh would come up with one which demonizes Barack Obama, fails to acknowledge economic reality, and which appears to have been pulled from planet Uranus:

The one-stop career center. Where is the one nearest you? Wendy, do you know where your one stop career center is? Snerdley, where's the one stop career center? The first thing Obama said that the returning veterans needed to learn about was benefits. Benefits. The assumption is that these people are so stupid and unqualified that they don't know how to get a job when they get home from service. What an insult. You military veterans, you're such idiots that you need Obama teaching you about benefits and how you can translate your military training into industry accepted credentials. Join a drug cartel! Well, what do we train people to do? Kill people and break things. That's the credential. He's so full of it.

The employment picture, benefit levels and qualifications, and government and corporate processes themselves, are hardly static. Even Rush Limbaugh changes, so as to be able to criticize whatever Democrats advocate. Here, he implies that if individuals come out of the military uninformed about the job market and the benefits to which they're entitled, they are regarded as "stupid and unqualified."

President Obama's proposal may be among what Krugman expects to be the "minor measures that would be more symbolic than substantive." But there is a need to assist veterans to adjust to a society undergoing rapid transformation. Rush Limbaugh- who stereotypes all veterans as killing machines- is against it, presumably because all veterans can do is "kill people and break things."

Why does Rush Limbaugh hate the troops?

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