I don’t even know where to begin on this topic. I can tell you that I didn’t always feel this way, and it took time and research to see things in a different light. I get red in the face hearing people use military service members as a political ploy to argue things such as minimum wage. I am not discussing what military members get paid, and I am not entirely for raising minimum wage. I do, however, feel some things are being purposely left out for the sake of perpetuating propaganda. I am going to use a screen snapshot to highlight the main issues I have here.
- Comparing an hourly wage employee to a person being paid a salary is difficult to do from the start. (Hence it is so easy to skew this to either side) The factors that are very much different are as follows (I’m almost certain I’m leaving some out);
- Medical/Dental benefits
- Tricare (standard-prime)
- Free (but limited) care for active-duty
- Single BAH/Dependent BAH
- Government Housing
- Incentive Pay
- Imminent Danger Pay
- Combat Pay
- Dive Pay
- Jump Pay
- Sea Duty Pay
- Yearly pay increases
- Enlistment and Re-enlistment Bonuses
- Tuition Assistance
- G.I. Bill
- Medical/Dental benefits
- The monthly pay increases over time for military members, and as of January 1, 2014 an E-1 gets paid $1,531.50 with less than 2 years of service according to the Defense Finance Accounting Service. Which means that per year for the first 2 years that E-1 makes $18,378.00 per year. The average minimum wage employee makes per year $15,080.00, according to the research done by UC Davis Center for Poverty Research. For that minimum wage employee there is no guarantee of getting that pay to increase either.
- Note: The service member’s pay is only the base pay, and does not include all the aforementioned benefits and incentive pays. This doesn’t mean the individual will be able to take advantage of all of them, but it helps prove my point on complexity, as well as highlights many of the things a “McBurgerFlipper” is not afforded.
- Another defining point is that many enlistees would be a minimum wage employee based upon their socioeconomic standing had they not joined the military. Due to economic stratification many individuals join the military to gain skills as well as an opportunity for a higher education which translates to upward mobility. Something that those working at a minimum wage job are typically not afforded the opportunity to receive either.
- Just keep in mind the middle class can barely afford a college education and often lives with an inordinate amount of debt, and usually includes familial assistance. How can you tell someone of a very low economic class not to have minimal skills when many of them cannot afford to expand their knowledge or skill base in the first place. This personally makes me heated, because of the large amount of arrogance spewed by a woman who obviously enjoys white privilege, which like it or not plays a large role in upward mobility and economic standing.
- The people able to join the military also had to have a means to do so in the first place. That means they had to have no children or have a way to have their children cared for until after boot camp. These individuals also had to meet certain medical requirements. They also had to be within a certain age range. Of course, this is only but a few of the factors that play a role in the reason as to why your “Baconator” isn’t in the military himself.
So ignoring the fact that comparing an active duty service member to a minimum wage employee is like comparing apples to oranges, don’t use us as your political scapegoat for the over generalization of such a complex socioeconomic issue such as this one. It only portrays you as someone with an inability to read more than the cover of a book.
Note: I do not necessarily believe raising the minimum wage will change anything. I also don’t believe service members get paid enough in imminent danger areas. I, also, realistically understand we can’t afford as a country to properly pay that amount anyways. I hope if this does nothing else it serves as a starting point for other to see past the top layer of dirt in this filthy fight for money.