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Just like in the comics, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Captain America kicked off his superhero career in World War II, and after being frozen in the Arctic, he was discovered decades later. After being unfrozen, Steve Rogers has continued to protect humanity in the present day, but we have to remember that when he first put on the uniform, he was a member of the United States military, and he continues to retain the rank of captain. 66 years after he disappeared, it seems that the U.S. government owes him quite a bit of back pay.
After realizing that Captain America did is still technically "on duty," a Redditor crunched the numbers. In 1945, the O-3 pay grade was $313.50 a quarter for someone two or less years of experience, but when you factor in specialized training (which Steve Rogers had), that adds an extra $100 per quarter. When you factor in the $82.50 living allowance, that becomes $496 a quarter, and over three years, all that adds up to $5,952. From there, there’s a "biannual increase of pay for service" that caps off at 22 years, which, when added with the previously listed amount, gives us $87,636. Finally, accounting for the constant pay scale over all those decades and assuming Steve was returned to active duty immediately after being thawed, that gives us a total of $3,154,619.52. That’s a lot of green.
The movies have never clearly addressed how Steve is supporting himself nowadays, though we can deuce how he’s getting by. From the end of Captain America: The First Avenger to the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we know he was working with S.H.I.E.L.D., so they presumably set him up with an apartment and living allowance in exchange for going on missions for them. After the organization’s fall (well, on the big screen, at least), Steve then moved to Avengers Tower and dedicated himself full time to being one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. However, he did tell Sam Wilson, a.k.a. Falcon, in Avengers: Age of Ultron that he probably can’t afford a place in Brooklyn, so obviously he’s not rolling around in cash. Following the formation of the new Avengers team, Steve has likely moved to their new base out in the country, and with its own staff, he looks set, though that’ll change once he goes on the run in Captain America: Civil War.
Obviously with the focus in these movies being on action and character development, something as trivial as a paycheck isn’t going to be addressed within the story. That said, Steve was presumed dead after crashing Red Skull’s plane in Captain America: The First Avenger, so back pay was never considered. Of course, these calculations have prompted many humorous comments on the Reddit page, including one person who called Steve a "slacker" noting that he showed up to work 66 years late. Technically he was MIA, but we get your point.
Steve Rogers will jump back into action in Captain America: Civil War, which finally hits theaters in the U.S. tomorrow, or for some folks, tonight.
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