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Support our troops -- by employing them when they return home

June 24, 2011 |  2:02 pm

photo: U.S. soldiers in eastern Afghanistan on June 19, 2011. Credit: Ted Aljibe / AFP / Getty Images. A recent editorialabout how L.A.'s homeless veterans deserve more support from the Veterans Administration pointed to a staggering statistic:  “Veterans are 50% more likely to become homeless than the average American.” Now, add to that our dismal economic climate and it's hard not to worry about the 33,000 U.S. troops who'll return home from Afghanistan by the end of next summer to high unemployment levels. What will they do? Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has an idea. On Thursday’s "PBS NewsHour," he told Jim Lehrer:

Robert Gates[W]hat I've been trying to do and what Mrs. Biden and Mrs. Obama and the chairman and his wife -- all these folks, are trying to do is to -- is to try and get that other 99 percent [of people not serving in the military] to -- they all say they support the troops, but it's not just enough to say it. Go out and find one of them and give them a job. If they need some repairs on their house, do that. Mow the grass. Find some action you can take as a citizen who appreciates our military to help those families and particularly the families of those who are deployed. Every town in America has somebody from the National Guard who's probably deployed. So there's somebody out there that they can help. And actions always speak louder than words.

Former President Clinton has a few ideas for how to get the 14 million unemployed Americans back to work too. And he's not talking about the phony "job-creation" schemes exposed by This American Life either.

ALSO:

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Waxman and Feinstein renew push for homeless vets

Unfair working conditions: Blame greed, not the economy

Boeing: Dismissing workers rights or practicing good business?

--Alexandra Le Tellier

Top photo: U.S. soldiers in eastern Afghanistan on June 19, 2011. Credit: Ted Aljibe / AFP / Getty Images. Bottom photo: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Credit: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

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