It is heartbreaking when anyone is willing and able to work but cannot find a job.
There is an added dimension to that pain, however, when the unemployed person is a veteran of the U.S. armed forces who has only recently returned from honorably serving in Afghanistan or Iraq.
The shockingly high unemployment rate for some of our nation's youngest veterans -- those who are 20 to 24 years old -- averaged 30 percent in 2011! That is about double the rate of joblessness among non-veterans in the same age range.
Some companies have made a commitment to hiring more of our returning troops. We commend them for that effort.
But that really only shuffles around jobs among different segments of the population; it does not solve the basic problem of a lack of jobs.
Unfortunately, the federal government continues to pursue policies that have little prospect of boosting employment, and may well hurt job creation.
ObamaCare, for instance, will perversely penalize companies that grow beyond 50 employees. Businesses that expand to more than 50 workers will eventually have to start offering health insurance approved by the federal government. If they do not offer coverage, they will have to pay an annual fine of $2,000 for every full-time worker they employ -- excluding their first 30 employees.
That's a recipe for discouraging those companies from expanding -- even though the growth of small businesses is exactly what our country needs to get on solid economic footing again.
For the sake of both our unemployed veterans and all other Americans who want to work but can't get a job, we hope the 2012 elections represent a turning away from big-government policies that are draining the lifeblood from our economy.