It may come as no surprise to those of you who have studied the roadblocks in the American political system, but veterans in this country are often underappreciated and not taken care of when they return home from combat. Below you can find a sample research paper on veterans’ rights written to make the argument that our men and women in the armed forces should be better taken care of when they return home from war.
There are several things to take note about this sample paper. For one, it uses very good sources. Like all documents written by Ultius research paper writers, there are no random Internet pages as sources but rather only high quality academic journal articles. Please continue reading to learn more about this fascinating topic.
Veterans’ Rights are Trampled on in the United States
In 1783, veteran Elijah Fisher wrote, ‘There was so many that come from the Army and the Navy that had no homes, that work for little of nothing but their vittles, that I could find no employment…’ (‘Veteran’s History: The Rank & File’s Story’ pg 1). Nearly four years later, Revolutionary War veterans were still struggling to keep their land to avoid debtors’ prisons in the face of the post-war recession, a struggle that culminated in a veterans’ march under the leadership of Daniel Shay to the Massachusetts State Arsenal in protest, which was later known as Shay’s Rebellion. The discontent of veterans returning from combat is an issue that has plagued the United States in the years after armed conflict, often coming back to a non-combat world that they have trouble functioning in.
Much tension exists between the American populace, who finance the government’s Department of Veterans Affairs and have, in increasing amounts since the end of World War II, shown fewer displays of nationalism in United States offensives, and the troops who assume the duty of representing the American will abroad in combat demonstrations. This tension between citizen and military man is especially evident in times of economic turmoil, such as in the present-day United States. Unfortunately in such times of budgetary imbalance in Washington, increases in funding for the Veterans Affairs office is impractical and unpopular. It is, however, imperative that the United States support veterans returning from defending American ideals in high-risk military tours, no matter the arena, through the work of the Veterans Affairs department. Through streamlining the process, extra funds can be created to provide the programs necessary for continued comfort and rehabilitation of veterans into American society.
Statistics Prove: Veterans are Abused
In the government’s office of Veterans Affairs’ most recent data summary, as of September 30, 2011 the United States has a total of 22,149,469 veterans (Veterans Affairs: FY11 Geographic Distribution of VA Expenditures). For that number, the Department of Veterans Affairs has a budget of $22,859,177 to finance programs, medical coverage, compensation, operating costs, and burial costs, the tip of the proverbial iceberg as far as how many duties this office must cover. In terms of the U.S. annual budget, this amount is approximately 5%, the same as healthcare funding levels. In comparison, 57% of the $1.3 trillion budget is expected to be put into the active military and defense sectors (“President’s Proposed Discretionary Spending”). In a paper written by Linda J. Bilmes of Harvard University, the problem with funding Veterans Affairs today is that expenses for taking care of returning troops is not factored into the estimated costs of a war.
According to cost projections based upon evidence from previous wars, claims made by veterans peak some 30-40 years after a conflict; therefore, it falls on the next generations to allocate funds for these claims where none had been set aside previously (Bilmes: “Current and Projected Future Costs”). This means that the budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs is constantly undermined by uncalculated costs accrued in decades-earlier conflicts, black holes in the budget that take away funds for programs designed to reintroduce combat-weary veterans back into society. Bilmes argues that a major step towards assisting veterans would not be through providing a bigger annual budget but by making it necessary for the United States War Department to factor in funds for veterans and their compensations for the years after their service is through.
How to Stop the Problem of Veteran Abuse?
Another way to ensure that veterans continue to receive the benefits that they have been promised upon returning to the United States is to investigate which programs drain the department’s funds and are not beneficial to veterans. For instance, listed on the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ Services page is an Independent Living Program, which funds veterans’ right to “live [independently] to the maximum extent” (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Services). It seems, however, that one cannot live independently if someone else is financing it. Therefore, the program’s funds would be better used if allocated towards something that can provide more long-term success. While the Independent Living Program is beneficial in instilling a sense of accomplishment and confidence in veterans, these can also be achieved through programs like the Career Center and Financial Counseling. These programs help veterans by coaching and networking into finding a career and returning to normalcy, the end goal for the Veterans Affairs office.
It is necessary that these programs exist for the betterment of veterans’ lives so that they can be integrated once more into society. When veterans return, they face seemingly insurmountable obstacles, including but not limited to medical limitations and unemployment. In his article on the site The Daily Caller, Veteran and CEO of Concerned Veterans for America Pete Hegseth cites a statistic from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that states that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans face a 10% unemployment rate, approximately 2 points higher than the general unemployment rate (Hegseth: “To Honor Veterans… Rebuilding Economy”).
Another problem that the VA faces is a back-up of claims processing; in fact, it has resulted in several stories leading to overcompensation, funds that, had the process run more smoothly, could have been applied to program boosting. The most practical way to kill two birds with one stone: cut the inefficiency of the department by hiring the veterans that embody the necessary skills. Not only would jobs be provided for veterans that, as Hegseth states, “return home with solid skills, a strong work ethic, and a sure sense of discipline”, and also provide empathetic workers in the department, but would help to clear up backup that accumulates due to lack of support in the department.
The Problems Veterans Face are More Serious than Ever
Many veterans return with serious health problems, ranging from physically debilitating injuries to mental trauma, the most common Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. These require medical care, with bills that most veterans cannot afford. With the stress of acclimating to a non-combat zone, many veterans turn to the Veterans Affairs office to provide them with assistance in finding work, paying expenses related to active service. While today’s economy it is hard to justify a major increase in funds to the Veterans Affairs Department, especially at the hands of U.S. taxpayers who are also reeling financially, increases in a budget are not the only way to help ease veterans in their transition home. Instead, redirecting funds from projects that are not beneficial on a long-term scale to projects with success in the department’s overall goal would be prudent and justified. Reflecting, it is fitting to remember the saying that while all gave some, some gave all. It is the American citizen’s duty to protect and provide for those who have protected the American image of diplomacy on the world stage.
Bilmes, Linda J. “Current & Projected Future Costs of Caring for Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.” 13 June 2011. Harvard University. PDF File. 13 Mar. 2013.
Hegseth, Pete. “To Honor Veterans, Focus on Spending Restraint, Rebuilding Economy.” 12 Nov. 2012. The Daily Caller. 13 Mar. 2013. .
“FY11 Geoaphic Distribution of VA Expenditures (GDX).” United States Department of Veterans Affairs. 30 September 2011. Spreadsheet. United States Government. 13 Mar. 2013.
“President’s Proposed Discretionary Spending (FY 2013)”. Federal Budget 101: Where does the Money Go?. 2013. Pie Chart. National Priorities Project. Source: OMB. 13 Mar. 2013. .
“The Rank & File’s Story: From the Revolutionary War to the Present.” Veterans’ History. 2013. The Veteran. Vietnam Veterans Against the War. 13 Mar. 2013. .