Dear Active Duty Military, Retired Military, and Military Veterans Benefits Haters —
We’ve been having a rough go of it lately, haven’t we? There you are, a civilian, absofuckinglutely convinced that the average service member in the United States Military is not worth his weight in pay and benefits. And here I , a United States Air Force disabled veteran, wondering how we got to this fucking point and why you are so fucking uneducated about the value of the the United States military. Let me be the first to tell you, fuck off and fuck you.
I think the problem may be that you are more than a little fucking confused. You’re there, sitting on your civilian sofa in your civilian house in the town of your choice after coming home from your civilian 9-5 job. You are feeling a little annoyed by the crazy awesome salaries that servicemembers and military retirees score because, in comparison, yours aren’t that amazing. So, now your fucking pissed our taxes are paying for us to have this fabulous fucking lifestyle. You are disgusted by our very existence which is supported by the American tax payers
You proclaim our benefits, the things we get in exchange for the willingness to die for America is overly lavish.
Don’t get me wrong, I put my benefits to use regularly, doing crazy shit like buying food and paying fucking bills. But I would live without the benefits just fine, making life happen other ways. If it comes down to bullets or your fucking BMW, I’d go with the bullets any day.
What bothers me about you military hating motherfuckers writing stories, posting stupid shit on social media, and your appearances on television spewing your bullshit is your fucked up tone.
Servicemembers, retirees, veterans, and their families, the tone says, are acting like privileged brats for expecting, accepting and clinging to the benefits which encourage them to stay military or even to join in the first place.
In fact, the tone says, it is a waste of tax payer money to meet military personnel needs or even give nice-to-haves in exchange for keeping them around to call upon at your every whim.
Servicemembers are overpaid, coddled low-skill workers who should not be given compensation for the inconveniences of military life, but who should still be expected to do their jobs while risking their lives for yours.
It’s a tone that says if you had to join the military to make it through life you are, logically, a substandard American worker and you do not warrant compensation in excess or even equal to the civilian market. Civilians are people who have choices and didn’t take the easy out of Uncle Sam. Military are people who are living off the tax payer.
The tone is supported by the flinging of inaccurate statistics to support your claims or, worse, the promotion sof weeping generalities about who servicemembers are and what they deserve.
Bad Statistics and Comparisons
Here’s this gem I read not too terribly long ago, pissed me off then, pisses me off now.
“Over the past decade, military salaries have grown at a faster rate than those of civilian workers. The average enlisted soldier now earns more than 90 percent of Americans who have less than two years of college. Most captains – the third-most-junior rank of officer – will take home more than $90,000 this year.”
I’m going to disregard that ridiculous first sentence that ignores the fact that we also have been paid for deployment after deployment and all the tolls of war. Let’s just focus on the compensation “facts.”
Only one in seven Americans is even in good enough physical shape to join the United States military. That means that to be the “average enlisted soldier”a recruit already had to do something most Americans can’t fucking do, be somewhat fit. A whole other group of Americans is ineligible because they didn’t graduate high school or because they have a criminal record. A recruit also had to be willing to join the military, which puts him in a group with less than one percent (1%) of Americans.
After he joins that soldier then holds a more than full time job, often over 80 hours a week, for which he must continue to meet requirements such as staying fit, drug free, and felony free. He very likely does an intricate task that no average American with less than two years of college could do without months of dedication and training. He probably has also spent more than nine full months multiple times away from his family working around the clock where he put his fucking life on the line and accepted the continuing burdens of war as part of the gig. He’s likely to have held this same job for around five or six years.
Why is it so fucking unreasonable that this soldier make more than 90 percent of Americans who have less than two years of college? And how is that a good group of people to compare him to at all?
Military officers are compensated at a higher rate based on education and responsibility, at least in theory. While a captain may make more than $90,000 before taxes in a very high housing allowance area such as D.C., the average captain certainly does not. A little math reveals that a captain with seven years of experience living in San Antonio, Texas with dependents, for example, makes about $76,000 before taxes. But a breakdown of average hours worked during a year in which he does not deploy shows that he earns around $21 an hour.
And no matter how you shake it out, nobody in the military, retired, or a veteran, are making a whole hell of a lot after taxes.
In 2014 the average male graduate just out of college earned about $22 an hour. After graduating college and spending seven years on the job with countless additional months in training, a military captain is making about $21 an hour for putting his life on the line, being willing to live wherever the military sends him and leave his family for months at a time. He also has met all the qualifications of the “average enlisted soldier” that made that person valuable including, again, an interest in joining the military to start with.
As America rolled into sequestration and other budget cuts, DoD leaders decried the high cost of military personnel. After all, they said, supporting current and former military members takes up a third of the DoD budget. And with the DoD budget as a whole taking up the biggest single slice of the federal budget besides Social Security, something surely must be done.
But what they fucking fail to note is that military personnel costs really aren’t that ridiculous when compared to the normal market. In civilian companies with big air fleets (the closest one can get to a military comparison), personnel costs hover at similar levels.
For the United Parcel Service, for example, personnel costs make up 61 percent of the budget. For FedEx, it’s 43 percent. For Southwest Airlines – generally recognized as among the most cost-efficient air carriers – personnel costs comprise 31 percent of operating revenue (which includes profit, so the percentage of expenditures is higher).
The idea that the Defense Budget is so out of control is also so very fucking misleading, particularly when you look to past trends.
If military pay and benefits are so great, where in the fuck are you?
But here’s the thing that really gets me.
If the pay and benefits for members of the American military are so lavish and such a steal of a deal, where are you, Benefits Hater?
Because that’s the thing that’s so great about the American military. You don’t have to be special or an elitist to hang out with us. You just have to meet the requirements and be willing to run while wearing boots while defending The United States Constitution.
This isn’t some exclusive club. We like all types of people. We’re fucking cool like that.
So perhaps you don’t join because you can’t meet the qualifications that us low-skill, not worthy of benefits folks met.
Or maybe you just love your freedoms and hate danger. Maybe you like picking where you live. Maybe your spouse has a career she doesn’t want to destroy by moving every three years. Maybe you don’t want to risk getting blown up in the street while driving through a far away land.
Those freedoms? We give you those motherfucking freedoms and make damn sure, all day and all night, sure you keep them.
Try remembering that and then see how you feel about the United States military, retired military, veterans, and all the benefits and pay we should live without.
Steven (aka Scorpion Sting, United States Air Force disabled veteran)