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Sunday, March 6, 2011

US Military Salaries

"When the rich wage war, it is the poor that die" - Jean-Paul Sartre

The US Military is a good money making business.  In 2010, the Department of Defenses' budget was close to $1.35 Trillion dollars. And a lot of military contractors do quite well in addition. And while Obama and the Congressional Republicans are currently bickering over which social safety net programs to decimate (cuts to elderly heating programs, social security, medicare, pensions) and how much of a percentage to slash by, one area where you will not see financial cuts take place is in military expenditure.  

After all, one can not fight two wars at the same time for free.  There's weaponry, armaments, technical equipment and the salaries of all the military personnel who if not for for the bloated budgets and wars, would mostly be unemployed as well, instead of fighting and killing thousands of miles away.

So, how much do these brave men and women make to serve Uncle Sam?

Here's the breakdown for non-officers:

Pay Scale    Army rank                         Navy rank            Salary (ave.)
    E1          Recruit (Basic Train.)    Seaman Recruit (Basic)    $15,655/yr
    E2               Private                      Seaman Apprentice         $17,551/yr
    E3           Private 1st Class                    Seaman                  $20,797/yr
    E4         Specialist/Corporal        Petty Officer 3rd Class     $24,813/yr
    E5              Sergeant                  Petty Officer 2nd Class     $26,691/yr
    E6            Staff Sergeant             Petty Officer 1st Class     $30,086/yr

If the military was a 40/hr week job like civilian workforce, the salary per week and per hour of each pay scale would be as follows:

E1 --  $301.06/wk -- $ 7.53/hr    *Minimum wage in US is $7.25/hr
E2 --  $337.52/wk -- $ 8.44/hr    * Salary of McDonalds' cashier
E3 --  $399.94/wk -- $ 9.99/hr
E4 --  $477.17/wk -- $11.93/hr   *Salary of BestBuy "GeekSquad"
E5 --  $513.29/wk -- $12.83/hr
E6 --  $578.58/wk -- $14.46/hr

~ To give some perspective, Alex Rodriguez, All Star baseball player of the New York Yankees will get a salary of $25million dollars for 2011.  It will take him less than 2 innings of 1 ball game to earn $34,293 which is more than the yearly salary of someone in the E6 pay scale. In only 1 inning of 1 ball game, he will earn the yearly salary of someone in the E2 pay scale.

According to --

"$31 million worth of food stamps were used by military personnel in 2008 – an increase of about $6.2 million, or more than 25 percent – from the $24.8 million redeemed in 2007. That contrasts with a 13 percent overall increase in food stamp use by Americans for the same period, according to the Department of Agriculture"

In addition..

"Nearly two-thirds, 64 percent, of recruits to the military were from counties that have average incomes lower than the national median"

~ In other words, 2/3 of all current enlistees are poor and in all likelihood enlisted because of lack of employment opportunities elsewhere.

These are the brave men and women who serve and fight and die..

And we pay them the same as motel housekeepers.

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