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The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

Should the US increase their military personnel's salary?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/11/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,308 times Debate No: 43745
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)




I firmly believe that we should increased our military personnel's salary because currently, lots of our soldiers after service turned into homeless. Quoted from"The federal government's first-ever comprehensive Veteran Homelessness study shows that veterans are 50 percent more likely to become homeless than other Americans. Additionally, minority veterans have an even greater chance of ending up on the streets or in homeless shelters". The question is why? Well, if you take a closer look into an active duty soldier annual salary, you will see. Base on, as a private( second class), you only earn $18,194 to $20,398. And if you look up US median salary on, it said a US citizen whom have a regular job should have annually income as high as $50,502. You see a soldier, who sacrifice their times, minds, bloods, or even life to keep the American lifestyle going, and now we just going to pay them the lowest annual salary in the America income graph? No, they deserve better. And that is why I believe we should increase the US military personnel 's salary.
So....... does anyone think differently? Let join up and debate!



All public servants do an admirable job. I will not be debating whether soldiers are deserving of more pay. What I will do is put arguments forward as to why soldiers should not be given a significant pay rise.

1) Incorrect Average Salaries

Pro when quoting salaries is either intentionally misguiding the reader or misinterpreting his source. The average median wage in the U.S. is not $50,502. It’s actually $26,695 (if Pro had taken the time to read his source properly it says this in bold) (1).

In fact the $50,502 which Pro’s source refers to is the Median Household Income (which is a measure of the combined incomes of all people sharing a particular household or place of residence, including incomes outside of salaries, such as investment gains) (2).

2) Military Salaries

A Private with less than two years’ experience earns between $18194 and $21,449, whereas a Staff Sergeant with 6 years Total Military Service earns $35,226. The first four officer ranks will earn you between $34,517 and $69,296 (3).

Assessing a soldier’s basic pay leads to the wrong conclusions because one also needs to consider remuneration, for instance, all soldiers are provided free (or almost free) housing (4).

Choosing an arbitrary monthly house price of $1500 per month equates to saving $18,000 per annum on rent, making the Private’s ‘pay’ is closer to $40,000, however free housing is not the only financial remuneration, these can include:

  • Utility bills
  • Rental agent fees
  • Cost of renovating a house to make it habitable
  • Money to improve housing security
  • Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance (upto $1,100 per month)
  • Family Separation Allowance of $250 (5)
  • Free healthcare for them and their family
  • Food
  • Tax free wages on overseas Opps’.

It is now clear a soldier earns far more than his basic wage implies, even the lowliest private earns in effect far more than the US average wage (a sergeant and officer more still).

3) Budget Considerations

The US military defence budget for 2013 was $675.8 billion, this has decreased year on year from at 2011 (6) The present budget is 6 times more than China’s 2013 defence spending ($116bn) (7).

Taking the current economic conditions into consideration, recession and budget deficit plus increasing military hardware costs, it is clear the U.S military budget, at least for now, is unsustainable (Fig 1.) thus unable to afford significant wage hikes.

Increasing personnel salaries would only add to an already inflated budget. This would presumably be offset by further cuts to other Federal Government Departments such as, Protection, Welfare, Transport, Health etc., which are already feeling the squeeze.

(Fig 1).

4) Homelessness

Your argument for higher pay for soldiers focussed around homeless veterans, and attempted to link a lower than average salary to homelessness. However, even if you’d provided a reference showing a correlation between homelessness and earnings in the region of $20,000, I’ve shown that soldiers are paid far more when remuneration is factored in.

Disabilities, addiction, and mental illness are associated with homelessness, and these conditions are prevalent amongst veterans (8). Independent of the Military Defence Budget, the Federal Government provides $143.2bn per annum for veterans (with plans to increase this by $20bn by 2016).

5) Economics

If an organisation is unable to fill vacancies, due to a lack of interest, then it may be forced to increase wages (if it is able to do so), however, if prospective employees are still applying, and all positions are occupied, then it does not make good business sense to increase wages, especially when budgetary pressures are being applied. As long as people are enlisting for the armed forces……

My unqualified opinion regarding homelessness

1) Throwing money at the problem during the existing financial climate may not be a suitable solution to the challenge, finding better ways to spend money on more effective support might be.

2) Troops should be provided with better resettlement support - more effective education, and transferable skills training, so that soldiers are better placed to make the transition into civilian life.

3) Soldiers can become institutionalised and may have fallen dependent on remuneration (free housing, subsidised housing, healthcare etc), as a consequence when serving personnel leave the military a new financial dynamic is added to their lives, one which they may be unprepared for thus fall on hard times. The military should do more to help soldiers prepare for life after the forces including the provision of financial management skills.










Debate Round No. 1


Ducanmichael forfeited this round.


I extend my arguments...
Debate Round No. 2


Ducanmichael forfeited this round.


I extend my arguments some more......
Debate Round No. 3


Ducanmichael forfeited this round.


I tried to extend my arguments some more but they stretched and snapped.
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by superflymegastallion 5 years ago
I'm not knocking the benifits, believe me. I often told my Soldiers that the military is a good place to be. I agree with you about the cars, but many junior Soldiers don't have a choice depending on their proximity to work. Monthly payments and interest rates on a loan are extremely high for young people as is their insurance even if they buy a modestly priced vehicle. Public transit does not exist quite the way it does in someplace like Germany for example. Buses may not be on time, or run at all. That does not give a Soldier an excuse to be late to work. I also agree that everybody has the responsibility to live within their means, but for the private scraping by on roughly $175 per week, it isn't alway feesible. But one breakdown of that modest car they had to purchase spells disaster.
Posted by STAGIESTCOSINE 5 years ago
The details you provide are what I expected. And are in line with the military renumeration package I am more familiar with. When listing benefits, I did say CAN include. I thought this would be taken to mean, through implication, that benefits would be dependent upon personal circumstance and elegibilty criteria.
I can say with certainty, the U.S miliary has a better benefits package than the one that my nation provides.

On a side note: a car bought on credit, one with high monthly payments, is a choice and not an essential. Everyone has a responsibilty to live within their means.
Posted by superflymegastallion 5 years ago
I don't know why I got cut off.

Hint, it isn"t the military, it"s me, out of pocket.
Food " Only single Soldiers get fed for free. Married Soldiers receive BAS. Basic Allowance for Subsistence. This may be the same thing that you mentioned with FSSA above. Family members do NOT receive anything. BAS entitlements for enlisted personnel is $357 per month. Less for officers. That breaks down to $4 per meal. 3 meals per day.
Tax free wages on overseas Opps". " Yes and no. Yes if you are in a warzone, no if you are just overseas. And many have never been or may not have been there for long.
So overall, benefits wise I think the system works. However, it isn"t nearly as much as you presented. I hope this cleared up a little bit. Let me know if you have questions.
Posted by superflymegastallion 5 years ago
"Free (or almost free) housing"
Housing is not free. For example I may receive XXX amount of dollars for a housing allowance. This is called BAH. Basic Allowance for Housing. The actual dollar amount varies on your duty location. I may receive $2000 per month here, but only $900 over there. If you live on post, it is automatically deducted from your pay check. You never see that money. So in a sense, living on base could be considered free. But, the housing is substandard in many places. Utilities are technically free on base, but that is based on what is called a "baseline" utility allowance. If you go over your allowed baseline, you pay the difference. Now this is on base. Off base is different. Hopefully you live in a place that actually equals your BAH or is under it. If not, you do pay the difference and the military does NOT cover your utilities in any way shape or form. Not to mention that you still pay renters insurance or home insurance in case of fire, etc"I think that covers housing and utilities.
Rental agent fees " Not true.
Cost of renovating a house to make it habitable " This may be tax deductible if you live off base, but it has nothing to do with the military. You are not allowed to renovate on base housing.
Money to improve housing security " Same as the renovation statement
Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance (upto $1,100 per month) " I don"t know what this is, and I"ve been in the military for 21 years
Family Separation Allowance of $250 " This only applies if you are married, and are away from home for 1 month or longer. If you are gone for 3 and one half weeks, you do not qualify for this.
Free healthcare for them and their family " Kind of. If I get sick or my kid gets sick yes we can get free help, but it is part of my insurance. Dental is a completely different story. Military does not pay but family does. In fact family members are not seen on base. My kid needed braces, guess who pays. Hint, it isn"t the military, it"s me, ou
Posted by superflymegastallion 5 years ago
A private with 2 or less years actually earns $18,378 annually. $1,531.50 per month.
A Staff Sergeant with 6 years would earn $35,578.80 annually. $2,964.90 per month.
ALL Soldiers are not provided free (or almost free) housing. I"m not saying you"re wrong, only that you misinterpret the benefit. I"ll clarify later.
SOME Soldiers do in fact get housed for free. These are single Soldiers typically in the ranks from E1 " E5. However, their 100 square foot lodging (barracks) would not be considered a $1500 per month rent, and they do have a roommate. Soldiers that do reside in the barracks do in fact eat for free in the dining facility (mess hall). Not that they want to. They do not get extra money for food. They do not pay utility bills, but they also cannot control much of their utilities (heat and air conditioning are regulated). So including health care, I"m willing to say they receive $100 per month pay. That up"s the Privates salary to $1,631.50 per month. Taking into account things that they do pay for now, and we"ll do some quick math. $500 federal taxes, $100 state taxes (if paid), $200 Social Security, $50 Medicare, $27 Life insurance, leaves the Private with $754.50 per month. Most get paid every 2 weeks. So, $377.25 every two weeks. That"s not very much money. Still using the $755 we have not factored in clothing, car payment, car insurance, phone bill ect" Here you can see where it could be quite the struggle. And that $755 assumes that they eat at the mess hall every day, every time. By the way, you don"t go to the mess hall every time you are thirsty, or want a snack. All that comes out of pocket. "You better go get a hair cut troop!", another $10 bucks gone. Then once you factor in things like personal hygiene items, new shoes and simple items like these and you can see by pay day that private is broke.
Posted by STAGIESTCOSINE 5 years ago
Btw way I'm not a U.S citizen.
Posted by STAGIESTCOSINE 5 years ago
I'd rather not say if I'm in the military, if you know what I mean. However, I can say, I'm not in the U.S miltary. I'm happy for you to provide some input though. Infact, I'd really appreciate if you did.
Posted by superflymegastallion 5 years ago
Have you been in the military? Your numbers are wrong, as are many of your assumptions. I understand what you are stating, however what you are stating as facts are simply incorrect. As a military member I would be more than happy to break down the pay if you would like to see for real numbers.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for the forfeits. S&G because, in Pro's only actual round, he had several errors, while Con went through and actually showed up, and had fewer. Sources because Con not only had sources of his own, but also showed how Pro misread his source. As to arguments: Pro only really had the one argument. Con showed that the wage is already higher than median, and showed that Pro hadn't linked homelessness to the wage (in fact, Con argued that it's related to things which the military is attempting to address). A clean sweep for Con. As always, happy to clarify anything in this RFD.