Letter to the Editor
In response to the military having it good and Jack Lewis' letter to the editor on how bad it was, I'd like to add my 2 cents.
I'm former military, former government worker, current contractor. If the military life was so bad, why did Mr. Lewis stay 22 years? Today's military is all volunteer, and many of the young people are not willing to put up with the substandard living and pay.
I came out of the Marines as an E-5/Sgt. and into a government job as a GS-4. I made the same amount of gross annual pay. Only problem was, I no longer lived in free barracks (yes, the ones that are like college dorms), nor did I have free food at the chow hall (not the fanciest, but filling), nor did I live within walking distance of work.
As a GS-4, I had to pay federal and state taxes, my own health insurance, rent, food and clothing, and my car insurance jumped because I had to drive to work. Same pay as an E-5, a lot more deductible. And, if I screwed up my money, I had no place to fall back to.
I know families in the military have it rougher, but no one told you to get married and start a family on a private's pay. No one in the civilian sector does anything special for the minimum-wage worker. That's why we have working poor. If you don't like the way the system works, why stay? That's why I'm no longer in the military or federal government. I'm doing much better in the private sector pay-wise (which means lifestyle-wise).
People make choices. How high a living standard you want depends on you. But do remember that those poor underpaid military and government workers run and protect this country when the s- hits the fan. I think pay should be more equitable or this country will pay in the long run.