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Veteran's Newstalk From Vietnam

A Stanford economist’s latest research on veterans isn't promising. According to Mark Duggan, veterans face the worst employment prospects ever seen and are filing for disability compensation claims at astonishing rates.

During his research, Duggan looked at the data from 1950 to 2014 and came to a stunning conclusion: an increase in available disability compensation has led to a decrease in job market entry rates for veterans. The main reason Duggan cites is that disability benefits have acted as disincentives to work, disincentives that have ramped in the past decade. From 1950 to 2000, veterans on disability only amounted to 8 to 10 percent of the total veteran population.

However, that number in 2014 jumped to 18 percent. Enrollment increased from 2.3 million in 2001 to 3.9 million in 2014. What’s especially interesting is that the dramatic increase occurred during a 16 percent reduction in the actual number of military veterans.

The change began in 2001 when benefits policy started allowing veterans of the Vietnam War to claim benefits for exposure to Agent Orange. In 2000, the Institute of Medicine found a link between exposure to the chemical and likelihood of developing Type II diabetes. U.S. forces used Agent Orange to decimate jungles, in order to prevent the Viet Cong from hiding in the foliage. Soon after, ischemic heart-disease, Parkinson’s, and B-cell leukemia were added to the list of conditions under which benefits could be claimed.

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