Last week, Steve Fought, spokesman for Dem Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), lashed out at Kaptur’s election opponent, Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher, calling him “Joe the Faux Plumber.” Ever since Joe was thrust onto the national stage he’s had to face charges that he isn’t a “real” plumber. The reason Fought and others claim Joe isn’t a “real” plumber? He received his training in the military, not the civilian world.
Unbelievably, as thousands of veterans learn upon discharge every year, the training they receive in the military doesn’t necessarily translate into skills recognized by the civilian world. In Joe’s case, he was a plumber in the Air Force for four years achieving a level comparable in the civilian world of a “journeyman”, allowing him to do jobs solo. After discharge, Joe went to the local union and was told that his training didn’t “count” and he’d have to start at the bottom of the ladder.
Sadly, its a situation faced by many veterans. Its a large reason why the unemployment rate for returning veterans is over 29%. Their military training doesn’t count towards the licenses and certifications they need for many skilled jobs. Its a ridiculous situation. The military doesn’t use different electrical or plumbing systems than the civilian world. In many respects, military training is even more rigorous than that in the civilian world, as there is far less margin for error.
Congress has recently taken steps to address this issue — specifically to direct the Department of Labor to take steps to ensure that military training translates to license and certification requirements. No doubt Big Labor will aggressively lobby against this rational step.
So, Joe may be a “faux” plumber to Rep. Marcy Kaptur, but where veterans are concerned, she is a “faux” Congressman.