On April 29, Irv Brown wrote a letter asking, basically, why “Johnny fry-cook” (which is a very condescending term) should make $31,200 annually when an E-1 in the military only makes $18,378.
First, according to the military pay tables, effective Jan. 1, 2015, that E-1 would make $18,561.60. If that E-1 lives in the barracks, he has virtually no other expenses of any consequence. His housing is paid for; his meals are paid for. He has full medical and dental. He even gets a uniform replacement stipend once a year after he has been in a while. These are all expenses that have to come out of that fast food worker’s $31,200.
If that E-1 lives independently, he further gets housing and subsistence allowances totaling (at a minimum) $1,052.82 per month. Those allowances are not taxable. Using a conservative combined federal and state tax liability of 20%, that gives him an effective additional annual increase of $15,792.30 for a total income of $34,353.90. So the E-1 doesn’t do so badly, especially considering that he generally had no skills that were not given him by the military. If we are going to compare, let’s keep it apples to apples.