Steve Rogers has a particular title that most people know, but he could equally be called “The Longest Serving Soldier in History.” From when he enlisted and was subjected to the special serum that turned him super, Captain America has been in the U.S. Army, all-told, for something like 66 years. And he’s still a Captain, which is weird. This duration led to a very popular Reddit theory insisting that Cap is owed a whole lot of money by the government — upwards of $3 million to be exact. The theory became so popular that the Army has issued a response.
As Business Insider is reporting, a spokesman for the army has not only said that the theory is essentially right, but alludes to Capt. Rogers possibly being owed even more money than initially proposed.
The initial theory was based on Steve being officially commissioned from 1945 to 2011 (when he’s thawed out at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger) and since Steve was an O-3 (army captain), he’d have gotten a certain amount of money every quarter, just over $300.00. If we take into account a number of other variables, including raises and living expenditures for the first two years of being this rank, and keep the next 64 years at that same level (which is ridiculous), Steve should be owed $3,154,619.52, adjusting for inflation. It pays to be frozen for most of the 20th Century, huh?
This theory, originally put forth by Redditor Anon33249038, gained enough traction on the interwebs that Army spokesman Wayne Hall issued a response to Insider, and added way more wrinkles:
If Capt. Steve Rogers (aka Captain America) were not a fictional character and the circumstances surrounding his disappearance and recovery actually real, he may actually be entitled to receive back pay…However, a wide variety of variables would have to be taken into consideration to actually calculate the true amount of back pay to which he would be entitled to receive; given that he is a fictional character we cannot truly capture all of those variables accurately.
Hall also said the O-3 rate in 1945 was $313.50 per month and not quarterly, and that the theorist “misinterpreted” the biannual pay increase and didn’t factor in things like “any potential promotions that may have been bestowed upon Rogers while he was listed in a ‘Missing’ status.”
While we can’t know what kind of promotions he’d have received while missing, we can calculate, via math and the new figures with all else being the same as before, that Captain America would have gotten paid $4492.00 per year for his first three years, giving him $13,476.00 for those years in total. According to the data we found here, after three years, he’d get a monthly increase of $14.25 every two years until the 18th, then increases at 22 years, which is where it–ahem–caps.
We got $375,474.00 in 1945. However, adjusted for inflation, the government actually owed Cap $4,692,152.56 when they returned him to active duty with current commission. If he weren’t fictional, of course. So there you go, folks. Uncle Sam owes his favorite son over 4 and a half million bucky-roos.
If you found that I’m wrong in the math, please tell me in the comments. If you’ll excuse me, I’ve gone cross-eyed.
Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor for Nerdist, and he wishes he were Captain America on the daily. Follow him on Twitter!