In a very recent article and not pointing fingers at the writer (he's reporting the news), the Congressional Budgeting Office (CBO) just completed a report stating that, "growth in military compensation has exceeded private-sector wages by more than 25 percent over the last ten years."
Step up on soapbox:
Let's start with General Officer pay and work down:
Our 4-Stars are paid a maximum (basic pay) $234,804 plus any BAH/BAS. The USAF Chief of Staff employs 330,000 personnel, has an inventory of 5600 aircraft, 400-500 ICBM's, 33+ satellites, 2200 cruise missiles, keeps secrets based on national security, and the toughest part of his/her job is to send condolences on behalf of the USAF to the families for the sacrifice(s) of Airmen at war. His/her counterpart, a CEO at GM makes $7.7 million dollars, has approximately 220,000 employees, moves jobs across the pond to increase profits, keeps secrets based on the other competitor, and received a bailout because of greed.
We'll skip the ranks in between and get right to the "meat" of our military personnel, the junior enlisted:
Our junior enlisted personnel (E1-E5) receive on average $27,483 ($3.13 per hour based on being on call and deployed) and that number is on the high side because there are many E1's to E4's that make less--. They are the core of the mission. They are deployed on average 240 days per year, away from family and friends and many of their spouses are at home with his/her children, in base housing, and on government assistance or frequently receiving Air Force Aid. They turn wrenches on automobiles, fly in aircraft, crew chief aircraft, cook, etc. Let's talk about the crew chief. He/she is responsible for the lives on the aircraft, safety of the aircraft/lives on the ground (other maintainers) and at times, the aircraft is in excess of $250 million dollars, sometimes exceeding $900 million dollars. His/her counterpart, a maintainer on an American Airlines aircraft starting pay is roughly $58,000 (Based on 40-hour weeks, makes $28.00 per hour), responsible to the aircraft and lives, works a 10-14 hour shift, has holidays off, goes right home to family 99% of the time, and never deploys.
Next, to draw a comparison and attention to another issue, I am using a CATO Institute February 2012 analysis of Federal workers and their "counterparts" in the civilian sector: In 2000, a Federal workers average pay was $53,000 and the counterpart was $38,000, in 2010, the average pay was $83,000 and the counterpart was $52,000. Sidebar--the 2011 bonuses paid out to Federal workers was $109 million, for what? I cannot see any reason as to why a Federal employee should receive a bonus--no friendly fire in the office cubicles?
For the most part, military members don't sit there every day drawing comparisons between their pay and their civilian counterpart's pay, they sit there knowing that the product they produce whether paper or metal, affects those in the heat of the battle, either kills our enemies and/or brings our personnel back inside the wire safely. It saddens me though that the majority of those CBO personnel never laced up a boot and would dare to draw a comparison of the sacrifices of military personnel with those on the "outside." There isn't a comparison as you see above. I say, redraw your conclusions, study a bit more--one other way to save money is to stop the amount of manhours, toner trees, electricity used on dumb and bogus studies such as the one below. How about not trying to redirect attention on federal pay versus military pay--ask the 10's of thousands of military families if they could use a 1-2% raise. Enough already, leave the ones that provide that umbrella of freedom pay and healthcare alone, I think they more than deserve what they get now and any pay raise in the future.
Photo Credit: LtCol Hugging Daughter