After returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, combat soldiers are struggling to find work, despite the incentives offered to businesses to hire post-Sept. 11 veterans. President Obama and others have talked up these incentives – and the failure to bring down unemployment among our ex-military hints at broader problems government programs have in spurring job growth.
Companies that hire vets can collect as much as $5,600 in tax credits for each individual veteran or $9,600 if that vet is disabled. Regardless, the unemployment rate among them remains at 9.4 percent in February, compared to 7.7 percent overall, according to the Labor Dept.
“Companies aren’t really willing to step up and help vets,” Capt. Mike Bolton told The Washington Post. “Mostly, what we get is just a pat on the back.” Bolton has helped more than 180 vets find jobs in manufacturing, logistics and fast-food restaurants, with the average pay around $32,000, less than lower-ranking soldiers made in Afghanistan. - Read more in The Washington Post
SEN DEMS: BUDGET BEFORE EASTER The fiscal cliff hung over Christmas like the gift of fruitcake, and now the Senate is struggling to vote on the fiscal 2014 budget before Easter. “There will be no more talk of not having a budget,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday. “We’re going to have one before we leave here for recess.”
Ah – but recess starts on Monday. So Palm Sunday could get pretty hectic on Capitol Hill.
Reid tried unsuccessfully on Tuesday to start the pre-vote debate on the budget, but the move was blocked by Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan, who was trying to force a vote on an aviation provision. Senate aides expect the continuing resolution to come to a vote on Thursday, but the budget will likely be brought to the Senate floor Saturday or Sunday. - Read more at The Hill
N.Y. WANTS TO EXTEND MILLIONAIRE TAX New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislative leaders plan to extend the temporary top tax bracket introduced in 2011 and slated to expire in 2014.
“Cuomo, who in 2011 described a new high tax bracket as a 'short-term solution' to help the state weather a financial emergency, did not mention his desire to extend the new tax bracket when he publicly announced his budget proposal in January, or in the weeks since as he and his cabinet members have crisscrossed the state, promoting his spending plan to residents,” The New York Times reports. - Read more at The New York Times
FED MAY CONTINUE BOND BUYING Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is expected to announce the continuation of the Fed’s $85 billion in monthly bond buying through the third quarter, during a FOMC meeting at 2 p.m. today.
The Fed is expected to ease up on the program in the fourth quarter, according to a Bloomberg survey of 46 economists. The economists expect unemployment to drop to 7.3 percent from its current 7.7 percent before the Fed starts to pull back on its buying. “By slowly trimming purchases, Bernanke will retain the flexibility to ramp up the accommodation again if needed and avoid jolting the weak economic expansion with a sudden cutoff in stimulus,” said Roberto Perli, a former economist for the Fed's Division of Monetary Affairs. - Read more at Newsday
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