There's sooooo much commotion going on in Congress right now regarding the handling/restructure of the Miltary Retirement funds – I just was unable to contain my comments any further.
Let's look at some basics:
An E5 – Over 4 years - $2448.30/mo or approx. $29,379.60/yr
Based on the fact that this enlisted person is Active Duty – that rate should be divided by 624 – number of hours in a 26 day month (used for the sake of argument – to factor leave time/sick time/ and other unforeseen circumstances. This is also based on a 24 hour day – as an Active Duty service person is "on duty" 24 hours a day – as they are subject to "call to action" at any time – day or night – weekend/holiday/what have you.
This equates to: $3.92/hr (isn't Federal Minimum Wage $7.25 /hr – Just asking...)
Average US Congressman - $13,508.33/mo or approx. $162,100.00/yr
Starting to see the problem? Congress is in session an average of 145 days per year. That's close to 12 days a month or 288 hours per month (assuming they actually worked a 24 hour day – which as we all know is FAR from the truth) . So – with that, albeit generous, figure in mind – let's see how this compares to our Enlisted person. Drum roll please?
This equates to: $46.90/hr
Now – we all know that no Congressman works 24 hours a day – nor do they HAVE to do so even if Congress is in emergency session – unlike our servicemen and women – who may be called up to work 24 or more hours in a row. So let's try and make it more realistic as to ACTUAL hours worked... Again, we'll be generous and say that they work 16 hours a day. 16 hours times 12 days is 192 hours per month. So, with THAT figure in mind – the numbers crunch out to:
Now let's go even further – If you serve Active Duty for 20 years (in the Air Force or the Army – the Navy and Marines have a different Guideline) – you can "retire" with 50% of your base pay. An E-5 with 20 yrs in – has a top-end, base pay of $2,965.50/mo or approx. $35,586 per year. So let's take 50% of that. The result is an annual "retirement income" of $17,793/yr or $1,482.75/mo...
So... our enlisted person may now rest comfortably – knowing they have just retired at $3,117 more per year than the current federal weighted poverty threshold – or $259.75/mo more than the same standard.
So let's not be unreasonable – however – let's say that our E-5 made it to E-7 before 20 years hit. That would mean his monthly base pay would be $4,143/mo or approx. $49,716/yr. So 50% of that would be $24,858.00/yr or $2,071.50/mo. – that would be a whopping $10,182/yr or $848.50 per month over the same poverty level guidelines.
And for all this ABUNDANCE of pension – our service person needed only to dedicate their lives in service to this country - for 20 years – every hour of their day – every day of their lives.
Not 8 hours a day, 5 days a week – but ready, available, dedicated to the point of giving their own lives if need be – for 20 years.
And now Congressional bureaucrats have determined that this is "too much" – and that we should just dock their base pay and have them "contribute", mandatorily, to a 401(k) plan –which, based on our current economic situation, would be a controversial investment at best – with no guarantee of dividend or return on investment?
Why is it that I think that it just NOT be ROCKET SCIENCE to determine this is a BAD IDEA?