Veterans Screwed Yet Again
Posted by nytexan on June 29, 2007
It just infuriates me that the more we ask of our soldiers, the more they are neglected. This time the neglect comes from the Small Business Association.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Having served in Iraq, Dave Krasner is now back home in Boston, struggling to keep alive the small computer consulting company he left behind.
“I love my country. But what do I do now?” said Krasner, a National Guardsman whose firm was buried in debt while he was away at war for much of 2004 and 2005. “My credit was wrecked. The SBA (Small Business Administration) turned me down for loans. So have banks. I can’t face my children. They see me as a hero.”
The 35-year-old father of four is among a growing legion of reservists who have returned from deployments of up to 15 months to see their small businesses in trouble, if not dead.
In a letter to Kerry’s panel, Krasner wrote: “We are begging for help and cannot understand why, even if this is an unpopular war, we are not given a fair opportunity to keep our home and run a successful business.”
“When a reservist has to shut his business down because his credit plunged while he was serving in Iraq, Washington isn’t keeping its promise to veterans,” said Sen. John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat.
Interesting statement for Kerry to make since he is chairman of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. SBA loans for vets have not been upgraded since 1999. Vets had to bring to his attention. Doesn’t Kerry know what’s going on with the programs his committee oversees?
Granted Kerry has only chairman since January, but don’t you think with two wars going on, this should have been the first thing on his mind?
Tom Gotsis, 50, a dentist and Army reservist outside of St. Louis, said he was on his third deployment in five years — each about 110 days — before he learned the disaster loans existed. He said he landed a 30-year, $185,000 loan with monthly payments of $888 at an interest rate of 4 percent.
“It’s like another house payment but it saved my practice,” said Gotsis, who figures each deployment cost his practice between $250,000 to $300,000. “It’s an honor to serve your country, but it shouldn’t cost us our profession.”
“There’s a lot of ‘support the troop’ stuff out there, but what does that really mean?” asked Mark Aldrich, a captain in the Massachusetts Army National Guard.
Aldrich, 36, married with two children, came home in October 2005 after 16 months in Iraq. The small marketing firm he formed shortly before being deployed was in financial difficulty. So he knocked on doors for help.
“All trails seemed to lead to the SBA, but they really didn’t have anything,” said Aldrich, explaining myriad rules and regulations eliminated him and others.
Aldrich conferred with Kerry’s staff in the drafting of the senator’s bill and is hopeful it will be passed Congress and be signed into law by President George W. Bush.
“It better become law. More and more reservists are being called up,” Aldrich said.
You can bet with Bush vetoing happy, this bill won’t get signed. After all Bush has shown us over and over again how he doesn’t support the troops.
I have said it before and I will continue to say it: support is not saying it, not a bumper sticker, a lapel pin, a ribbon on your car, or waving the flag. Support is actually helping the troops. Actually supporting the troops seems to be lost on this administration.