President Obama has proposed $120 million in new tax credits for businesses that hire U.S. veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. His proposed new "Returning Heroes Tax Credit" gives $2,400 to companies for each veteran they hire who has been unemployed for less than six months and $4,800 for those unemployed for half a year or more. And the existing "Wounded Warriors Tax Credit" -- paid out for hiring wounded veterans -- would be doubled to $9,600 for taking on someone unemployed for six months or longer. The President also announced a "reverse boot camp" program to help soldiers return to civilian life and set a goal for companies to hire or train 100,000 unemployed veterans and their spouses by the end of next year.
So, why this and why now? With military operations winding down in both Iraq and Afghanistan, more veterans are needing to re-enter a workforce that is already struggling with high unemployment. As of last month, the jobless rate for those who served since Sept. 11, 2001, was 12.4% as compared to 9.1% for the overall population.
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