4.5 years of service, without a deployment last year, I made just under 25K. Just to give an idea.
I agree that military members are underpaid (especially during a war) but just to inject a little more information into the argument I ask the following..
1. is that your base salary or totally monetary compensation?
2. Do you live in the barracks, Military housing, or off base?
3. Do you pay for your own meals (because you have to) or do you eat at the mess hall?
4. Do you get tax free shopping on post..
Again, I'm not fuckin' with anyone in the military. As a former E5, (in the '90s) I know how hard it was to make ends meet with both me and my wife working. We didn't even have kids. But a soldiers salary only tells part of the story. For instance, we got an off base housing allowance (about $600 a month). I got rations in kind unavailable because I worked on an army airfield with no chow hall (a little under $200 a month). I got hazardous duty flight pay as a helicopter crewchief (about $200 a month I think). **BTW, these numbers are from my fuzzy memory, I'll have to dig out an old LES to verify**
Some of those allowances are tax free too.
It depends on the job in question. Many are underpaid, but the E-7 who hands out towels at the base gym is grossly overpaid.
Well it also depends on the specific situation. That E7 might be handing out towels as extra duty for fucking up. He might also simply be doing a duty that is part of his larger responsibilities. He could also be covering for a Private for some reason. You simply can't assume that's all he does.
Do you think basic pay rates should be based on MOS?
I can see an argument to be made for that. For instance a mechanic in the motor pool makes the same an aviation mechanic. I only made more because I was also on flight duty. But even if you break it down by MOS, you have skill levels within those positions that are simply awarded based on pay grade.
But here is the gist of it. If you base it on MOS, then you'll never get recruits into the shit jobs. Who the hell wants to be an 11B (infantryman) that makes half as much as 67T (UH60 Mechanic)? The Army would have a lot more difficult time filling those positions.