Dear Future President,
As you come into office, I have major concerns about the way you are going to handle our military. As someone who has multiple family members currently serving our country, I believe there are some huge flaws in the way we treat our veterans and troops.
The US Department of Veteran Affairs estimates that nearly 11 percent of Afghanistan veterans suffer from PTSD while as many as 10 percent of Desert Storm veterans suffer and 31 percent of Vietnam War veterans suffer. That is nearly a third of all of our troops that fought in the Vietnam War that are suffering from this awful mental condition. PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and it is, according to mayoclinic.org, a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event, either by experiencing or witnessing it. Symptoms can include things like severe anxiety, night terrors, flashbacks, depression and even uncontrollable thoughts about the particular event. I believe we need to put more money into getting these men and women the treatment they deserve. According to nationalpriorities.org, in 2014 we only spent 4 percent of our nation’s budget on our veterans, the people who fought for us to be able to continue living here. That four percent included costs of everything such as medical care, housing, education and much more. We need to be investing more into the physical and mental health of those who spent years and years fighting for us, our rights and our freedom.
Another one of my concerns is military personnel salary. The average soldier makes $32,665 every year. We are paying our men and women who risk their lives every single day to make sure we are safe less than the average salary in America, which is a little over fifty thousand dollars a year. Also, in 2014, the average NBA player made approximately $4.6 million. So tall men shooting basketballs make an average salary over 140 times the amount that our troops make. Something is definitely wrong with those numbers. We need to work to pay these soldiers what they deserve. Our freedom is priceless so why do we pay the people that provide us our freedom less than the national average?
Also, although the numbers have been drastically decreasing over the last six or seven years, we should definitely still make homeless veterans a priority. A survey taken in January 2014 showed that close to fifty thousand Americans still identified as homeless veterans. The amount of homeless veterans has gone down over sixty percent since 2009 but until we are at 0 percent homelessness for these men and women, we should continue finding ways to provide housing and other health benefits to our veterans. The VA has been doing a great job of that so we should put more funding towards that program since it has been so helpful to all of our homeless heroes.