The Commander-in-Chief and the Minimum Wage

We have noted previously Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s President Obama’s proposals concerning military pay and benefits, but I have since taken the time to put together some numbers. President Obama wants to see the minimum wage increased from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour by the end of 2015, in three steps of 95¢ apiece.

Here is the current 2014 military base pay schedule:

And, assuming the 1% increase proposed by the President, this should be the 2015 Military Basic Pay Chart:

2015 Military Basic Pay Chart, based upon the proposed 1% increase.  Calculations by The First Street Journal.

2015 Military Basic Pay Chart, based upon the proposed 1% increase. Calculations by The First Street Journal.

The numbers were obtained by taking the 2014 chart, and using a Microsoft Excel calculation function to multiply them by 101%. The previous chart was given in pay per month; the Editor used Microsoft Excel to multiply the monthly pay by 12, to print annual pay.

Hourly and Annual Wages

Hourly and Annual Wages, based on 2080 hours per year.

Now, here is President Obama’s minimum wage proposal, with the 95¢ per hour step increases. The President is proposing, in effect, to pay enlisted soldiers (E-1 and E-2) in Basic Combat Training — which is a lot more than 40 hours per week! — less than the minimum wage! Only once a soldier reaches E-3 (Private First Class in the Army) would he earn more than the President’s proposed minimum wage.1

This is not a completely fair comparison, because soldiers in BCT don’t have to pay for housing or food; the Army is more than happy to provide them with luxury accommodations and nutritious meals. Somehow, though, your Editor thinks that is more than made up for by the fact that soldiers in BCT are being driven, and driven hard, for sixteen and eighteen hours a day.

Our military servicemen are putting their lives at risk, to defend the liberty and freedom of the United States. Every one of them has sworn an oath to obey the (legal) orders of the Commander-in-Chief, and they owe him obedience and respect. The problem here is that the Commander-in-Chief does not respect our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines enough in return.

  1. Not all soldiers start as an E-1; recruits with certain educational achievements can start higher, and my older daughter began BCT as an E-3, due to having some completed college credits.

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