I created this, because I was tired of people sharing my response, and having it lost in the re-share process of facebook. This is a very personal blog, so if you’re here for other production reasons, you can skip this one.
Ok, hot button issue here with me. I’ve seen this a lot. Yes, we don’t pay our service men and women enough, but as a former soldier in the army, I can break this down a little better and explain the situation more than just a picture. First off, I’m not a fan of anyone using pictures of wounded soldiers to emphasize an economic issue CONUS. How we deal with combat, and the way a civilian lives, I think are incomparable. BUT ONLY looking at economics, let’s break down the pay of military on deployment vs the $15 minimum wage increase.
E-4 (any branch) base pay is $22k a year for active duty. What is not included in that is the added benefits: 100% health care is covered on active duty, often chow halls are provided for free food, combat zone pay is tax free and also has a COLA allotment, meaning that you get cost of living added on. The following allowances are typical while being deployed: “An E-4 living off post could qualify for $549.60 per month if single or $732.33 per month with at least one dependent for housing and up to $1,100 per month, depending on family size, for food.” COLA (or cost of living adjustments) are given to soldiers in the scale of the cities and areas that have very HIGH cost of living. LA/California being one of them. Currently, the military already takes into account the added costs of living, but minimum wage jobs in CA do not.
Housing in LA, and most surrounding areas in CA can be 1600-1800 a month. Active military housing can and do control the rents for soldiers on post, and generally can be free in the barracks, or discounted areas for families. What I’m getting at is the military has a lot of assistance programs for soldiers, and also increase your base pay and additional allowances based on how many dependents you have. Again, minimum wage jobs don’t.
A 40 hour week at current hourly pay ($10) in CA, would earn you $1600 monthly. Now take out taxes, mandatory health insurance, utilities, phone costs, internet costs, etc… Here’s the cost of living breakdown for CA: https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/los-angeles – The math says that the current minimum wage in CA is unlivable. Economics is a way to look at the BALANCE of income from person to person, and that balance is WAY off in certain areas due to the overwhelming increase of base-cost of living. There are some economic down-sides to raising the minimum wage, I do understand that. However, equating the increase of minimum wage CONUS to the pay of soldiers fighting in combat, is like comparing two completely different subjects. To use the image of a injured fellow brother in arms in this way, and as a decorated honorably discharged non-commissioned officer who served in combat, I find this incredibly insulting.
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