America’s Failure to Support Troops…Economically

“Support our troops.” People in the United States frequently hear and see this phrase in a variety of settings: on cars, from politicians, and from friends posting on social media, to name a few.

And I agree. We should support our troops. While my personal opinion is that we should avoid war except in the most extreme of circumstances (example: if our own nation is attacked, like with Pearl Harbor), people who risk their own lives on behalf of the entire country should be supported. Since people in the military serve our country, our country should in return serve our military veterans. It’s the least we can do in the United States.

And yet, economically, we don’t support our troops.

There are numerous damning statistics on this fact. As of 2014, 25% of military families sought some sort of assistance with food.[1] There are about 40,000 homeless veterans, and that number actually rose between 2016 and 2017.[2] There were nearly 1.5 million veterans in the United States living below the poverty line as of 2012.[3]

And we haven’t even gotten to wages, which are abysmal. For example, a starting salary for someone starting in the U.S. Army as an enlisted soldier, according to the Houston Chronicle, is $1,491 a month ($17,892 a year). While that number goes up after several years of experience, an enlisted soldier with several years of experience can still earn under $30,000 a year.[4] Some of these salaries are below the minimum wage of some states, and they are certainly not living wages.

These are just a few statistics that show how this nation literally does not put its money where its mouth is. This nation talks a big game about supporting troops, yet fails to do so by paying living wages to troops and making sure that veterans aren’t homeless or in poverty. Shame on the United States for not giving back to people who have given so much to this country. Many of our troops have risked their lives to protect this country, and yet the government is risking the livelihoods of troops and their families through providing many of them with inadequate pay. This country does not truly support its troops.

However, we, as individuals, could raise our voices on this issue. We, as individuals, could contact our representatives in the House and Senate and ask them to make sure that all members of the military earn a living wage. Oh, and it would help if this problem gained national attention.


[1] https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/in-plain-sight/hungry-heroes-25-percent-military-families-seek-food-aid-n180236

[2] https://www.npr.org/2017/12/06/568755985/the-number-of-homeless-veterans-rises

[3] https://www.va.gov/vetdata/docs/specialreports/veteran_poverty_trends.pdf

[4] http://work.chron.com/salaries-us-army-soldiers-6496.html

10 Replies to “America’s Failure to Support Troops…Economically”

  1. Okay, just for the sake of discussion (and I have military family members so this post means a lot to me), since we the tax payers are the real employers, at least the money behind government, and people don’t want a tax increase, where should we shift money from so we can properly compensate the military? What budget item could use a cut?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Emily-My apologies for a delayed response here! It’s been a crazy few days with computer issues and the like (thank goodness for WP allowing me to schedule).

      I think that some of the shifting of money is actually subtraction from addition. Namely, since we’d spend money to make sure military people have adequate pay, the government wouldn’t need to spend money for military families to be on food stamps etc.

      The issue of military contracts would also need to be addressed. There’s significant waste in military contracts and if that’s addressed we could save billions a year in all likelihood. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but if it’s done it could help pay for properly compensating the military.

      There are other potential solutions but those were two that came to my mind.

      This issue means a lot to me too. Both of my grandfathers served in the military, and run into homeless veterans way too frequently (I’m in NYC).

      Like

      1. Great thoughts! My brother used to work for a company that handled military contracts, and I’m sure he would agree with you! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yikes. Yeah I’ve heard tales about military contracts. As I mentioned it’s in some ways easier said than done, but if it’s done it can not only pay for what I discuss here, but also reduce military spending in general.

        Like

  2. We have the highest paid armed forces in the world, the most extensive family housing and services and the greatest array of veteran services.

    This statement is ridiculous on its face.

    We might think about not sending kids off to everywhere to fight in commercial wars if we really were concerned with their welfare.

    Like

    1. The thing though is that in many (Most?) cases, the kids often do so against the wishes of their parents. A neighbor’s kid did that, for example. He was close to graduating college, at which point his floor would be a Second Lieutenant. Second Lieutenant base pay isn’t great (around $36,000 a year or so) but that’s better than what many enlisted soldiers earn.

      Like

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