Military Times reports that military pay raises might be lower in the near future compared to the last few years because the gap between military and civilian pay is closing. This article was written based on a Congressional report released Friday by the Congressional Budget Office, which is a nonpartisan analytical group within Congress.
The current method for analyzing the ‘pay-gap’ between military and civilian pay is measured by comparing military and private-sector wage growth. Many wage analysts claim this method “is a flawed and inadequate way to measure military compensation because it counts only basic pay, which is only a small part of the direct and indirect compensation received by service members.”
Military members receive tax free entitlements for food, housing, free medical care, and many other benefits such as duty free shopping on base, tuition assistance, and other tax free special pays and bonuses. None of this compensation is included in the current method for comparison between military and civilian pay.
While every military member (and every worker in general!) wants to see larger pay increases, a lower raise this year not necessarily a bad thing. This just means that military members are being compensated better than they have been compared to civilians. Military members have complained for years about poor pay, and rightly so. Not too many years ago, there were many military members in the junior ranks who used food stamps to help raise their families. Much has improved in the last 10-15 years. While most military members will never strike it rich through their military compensation, most get paid well enough to live comfortably.
Congress has made it a point to try and bring military pay to a comparable level to their civilian counterparts and for the most part they have done a good job. According to the Congressional Budget Office report, increases in compensation have resulted in a 21 percent boost in total compensation for the average enlisted member over the past six years.
The Senate and the House have both proposed next year’s military pay raise to be 3.5% across all military ranks, which in my opinion, is a good raise. I hope all you military members get it, it’s well deserved! 😀