Semper Fi, Jarhead.
I got out in '93, mainly because I was tired of working two extra jobs plus keeping up with everything with the Corps, just to support my family. I was a Cpl at the time, living in base housing, with one kid, one car, one wife, and not much else. As I recall, my total gross from my military pay was right at 13K that year. I made almost that much working part time at McD's that year.
I got out and took a job with a defense contractor doing the same thing I was doing in the Corps (TMDE repair/calibration), and immediately was grossing more than 25K.
While I was in, everyone I knew below the rank of Gunny or SSgt, and had a family was on food stamps and WIC.
And for the other poster commenting on the tricked out cars and crap he saw on the air force base... Stop and think... There's not many places to spend money when you're deployed to a combat zone. I suspect most of those 'kids' you saw that you thought were right outta boot have been to the sandbox and back.
Also, for your further education, the military doesn't pay all your expenses as an enlisted man... at least not when I was in the Corps. No one drew a pay check for the entire 12 weeks of boot camp, but when we got our initial pay, we took that $900 check they gave us, and spent most of it paying for our uniforms, our PX bill, and our travel to take our 10 day leave. While I was in school at 29 Palms, I didn't get paid at all for three months because of a payroll screw up. When I finally got paid, I owed for uniforms, haircuts, etc. When I was in school at MCLB Albany, GA, I ended up spending more than an entire months take home on a complete new issue of uniforms just so I could pass the Junk on Bunk inspections to get weekend liberty and not spend all weekend picking up trash on the CG's detail, or doing something equally banal on orders designed to give me something to do to keep young Marines out of trouble.
I'll end the rant this has become by simply saying this... no matter how much members of the military get paid, especially young enlisted men and women, they've made the choice to put their lives on the line, to shed their blood, just so other people back home can continue to make statements and assumptions about things they truly don't and will never understand.
It is by the blood of these men and women, my brothers and sisters in arms, that this country, as bad as it may be at the moment, is still the place people such as yourself gladly call home.