Members of the Military Make More Than 80-90 Percent* of Private Sector Workers of the Same Age and Education Level


In other words, it's not *just* teachers, cops, firefighters, and the bulk of civil federal employees who are riding high on the hog. Tom Philpott at reports

As private sector salaries flattened over the last decade, military pay climbed steadily, enough so that by 2009 pay and allowances for enlisted members exceeded the pay of 90 percent of private sector workers of similar age and education level.

That's one of the more significant findings of the 11th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation report released last week, given its potential to impact compensation decisions by the Department of Defense and Congress as they struggle to control military personnel costs.

The military pay advantage, which had been a worrisome gap in 1999, is larger now than it has ever been, said QRMC director Thomas Bush.

"I believe it is, and there is a chart in our report that illustrates that. [It] shows where we are, which is probably the highest point that we have been" compared with civilian pay, Bush said.

The military gained its lead with annual raises from 2000 to 2010 that exceeded private sector wage growth and some extra increases in housing allowances to eliminate average out-of-pocket rental costs.  Meanwhile, civilian pay growth stalled as markets collapsed and jobs disappeared.

Officer pay by 2009 exceeded salaries of 83 percent of civilian peers of similar age with bachelor and masters degrees. Enlisted are compared to workers with high school diplomas, some college or associate's degrees.

Recently Nick Gillespie asked if we could get by with fewer cops, teachers, and firefighters. Now that we're allegedly winding down our overseas adventures, it's fair to direct that question at our military, which has a base annual budget of $550 billion and 1.4 million troops. 

*The original headline butchered the statistic.