What’s The Impact of Having a Father Who Was Drafted to Vietnam? Major New Finding

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New report identifies the ripple effect of the Vietnam draft – and its not good…

How important is family background when it comes to determining a person’s life outcome?

Experts agree the parent’s circumstances have a significant determining factor on the outcomes of their children.

Now a new report by two prominent government economists actually quantifies, in hard dollars, the ongoing effects on children of Vietnam draftees.

As alarming as the findings are, the most significant take away from all of this is how the actions of our government can impact the population for generations to come.

The post below is a condensed version of the longer Washington Post article. If you want to read the entire article, scroll to the bottom for the link.

Read the condensed article below and make your own conclusion.

The Vietnam lottery was one of the largest accidental experiments in American history. Fates of millions of young men rested on a game of random chance. Whose draft number would be called? Who would have to serve?

By comparing those called up by the draft to those who weren’t, economists have been able to measure the impact of the Vietnam war on veterans. The results are depressing. A decade after their military service, white veterans of the draft were earning about 15 percent less than their peers who didn’t serve, according to studies from MIT economist Josh Angrist.

Now, new research suggests that the draft did more than dim the prospects of that earlier generation: The children of men with unlucky draft numbers are also worse off today. They earn less and are less likely to have jobs, according to a draft of a report from Sarena F. Goodman, an economist with the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, and Adam Isen, an economist at the Treasury Department…

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How they did the research

…Goodman and Isen used confidential tax data from the IRS to look at fathers born specifically in 1951-1952, as well as their children. These men came of age toward the end of the Vietnam war, so few were actually conscripted, and even fewer saw combat. In fact, these fathers were just as likely to be alive in 1996 as men whose draft numbers were never called…

…The men who ended up in the military — whether by draft or by choice — were systematically different than the ones who remained civilians…

…[Their findings reveal] the effect of having a draft-eligible father on a son’s earnings in 2013… On average, the sons of draft-eligible dads were earning about $268 less in 2013 than the sons of draft-ineligible dads.

That doesn’t seem like a lot at first — $268 is only 0.72 percent of average annual incomes for these sons.

But remember: This is the impact of having a dad whose draft number was called, whether or not he actually served. And not that many served. In the latter years of the war, draft-eligible men were only about 13 percentage points more likely to join the military because of the draft.

Of course, it’s probably those 13 percent of men that are making the difference here…

…How did the draft hurt the children of the Vietnam generation?…

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