Carlton Meyer wrote:
May 9, 2017 – Fake News About Military Pay
A few years ago, I attacked the myth that military personnel are poor and struggle to survive with an article High Military Pay, which begins:
“One great myth in American society is that military personnel are lowly paid. That was true until the 1980s when a push to improve recruit quality boosted military pay each year at twice the inflation rate.
The military was once known for low pay yet great retirement, but now has great pay as well. This fact is hidden from the public with absurd propaganda from military associations about the need to boost pay, and fear in the Pentagon that if Congress catches on, the days of big pay raises may end.”
Military careers are tough, but most GIs make twice as much as comparable Americans. As a result, I was stunned to read a PBS sponsored story titled: How Many Military Families Need Food Assistance? the Pentagon Doesn’t Know. The article is about Marines at Camp Pendleton, California who go to a church funded food bank on base to get needed food. It suggests Marines struggle to survive and leaders don’t care. I e-mailed the author and asked why he didn’t do basic research before publishing this fake news. I noted these errors in his story:
1. The federal school lunch program and WIC do not just benefit poor people. They help below average income families, so half of American families qualify. You note that only 25% of military families qualify, so that shows they are paid well.
2. One can make $50,000 a year and qualify for $100 a month in SNAP (food stamp) benefits if he has six children. The fact that just 23,000 of 1,400,000 active duty military families qualify for food stamps proves they are paid well.
3. You publish just one part of military compensation (basic pay) and ignore other payments that may exceed basic pay. One family profiled in your article has both parents on active duty. They make over $100,000 a year in total compensation!
He responded that he just reported what he was told. I pointed out reporters have a duty to conduct basic research and his story is so misleading that it qualifies as fake news and demanded a correction. I replied:
“Since I know how to use the internet, I spent two minutes to look up facts for you. I just googled “military compensation”, chose the .gov website, and typed in four simple data elements for an E-3 living in Californina. Each young Marine in your story earns: Total Regular Military Compensation (RMC): $62,408.13 You ran an article about two married Marines struggling for food who will make over $124,000 this year! And they get free medical care and don’t have to pay sales tax when they shop on base. Please correct the errors in your article, they amount to fake news.”
He never responded and never corrected his article because the truth makes the entire article pointless. Even military servicemen don’t know that most young O-3 officers and E-9 senior enlisted collect over $100,000 a year in total compensation.
May 11, 2017 – More Fake News
When Obama was President, I was appalled at his wasteful habit of flying the family ten hours to Hawaii for a few days off, this being someone who says global warming is a threat. The press never wrote a negative comment about this, yet as soon as Trump became President and traveled two hours to Florida for a vacation, there were numerous articles about the outrageous cost.
As a new President, Trump had no say about how the Secret Service and Pentagon chose to transport him. There is massive waste as the Pentagon likes to pretend nuclear war is imminent, so does wasteful things like insisting a big E-6 Mercury aircraft accompany the President’s personal 747 whenever he travels. Since both aircraft are old and modern electronics are far smaller, Trump should have the features of both aircraft built into a new Presidential Boeing two-engine 787 aircraft, which burns half as much fuel per mile as either of these two four-engine aircraft that it can replace.