Raymond is 18 years old. He's not sure what he wants to do with his life yet but he knows he can't qualify for university work. Maybe some day he'll enroll in a community college, take some courses, and figure out what he wants to do.
Meantime, Raymond's folks said "get a job"...so he works for McDonald's. McDonald's pays Raymond $8.00 per hour. He works five eight hour shifts per week. For that pay, Raymond sometimes works the register and sometimes he microwaves and assembles hamburgers. Raymond's gross monthly pay is $1,280.00. But there's hope and change for Raymond. His favorite President ever is browbeating companies into paying $10.10 an hour. If the franchise is on a military base they HAVE to pay or leave the base. But Raymond's favorite President has promised to campaign throughout the country and demonize any business that isn't willing to pay $10.10. And won't that be nice, a 25% raise in pay for Raymond! Raymond will then be pulling in $1,630 dollars per month for assembling burgers.
Tom is also eighteen years old. He's an army private. To qualify for his job Tom must pass a rigid physical and perform to army standards on his fitness tests. He must also pass the Armed Forces Qualification Test to make sure Tom can write at the 12th grade level and has math and science and reasoning knowledge.
During the first six months on the job, Tom will work sixteen hours a day as he trains in a dozen different weapons systems, learns both active and defensive combat maneuvers, crawls under barb wire on his belly, repels down 50 foot walls, as well as many hours in the classroom learning about his branch of service history, his country's history, military tactics employed in the last three wars...and when all that is done he washes out his underwear and socks, he polishes his boots and irons in military creases in his pants to stand inspection. He's spend at least a hundred hours learning how to clean, disassemble and assemble his assigned primary weapons.
Training over, Tom will deploy, even in this diminishing war, at least once to Afghanistan. Or he will stand guard on the DMZ in Korea. Or he will guard an ammunition storage site in Qatar, or, if he's lucky enough to get an assignment stateside, he'll be sent to rescue flood victims in New Orleans, or truck water and emergency rations to tornado victims in Iowa.
When Tom opens his paycheck envelope at the end of the month, Tom will see a check for $1,451.00 dollars. But wait! Each January Tom is scheduled for a pay raise with the rest of the military troops. How much? Well Congress voted a 1.8 percent military pay raise....but Tom's Commander in Chief cut that amount to a flat 1%. So Tom will get an additional $14.50 this year.
So President Obama wants a 25% raise for hamburger flippers like Raymond. But the Commander in Chief is only willing to give Tom a pitiful 1%.
So when the dust settles Raymond will make $1,630.00 flipping burgers.
Tom will walk up the the pay window in Korea, or Qatar or Afghanistan and get $1,465.00
Hail To The Chief, Baby!