The First U.S. Congress voted to pay George Washington a salary of $25,000 a year, about $566,000 in 2007 terms. Washington, already a wealthy man, refused to accept his salary; however, he asked for his living expenses to be covered. Theodore Roosevelt spent his entire $50,000 salary on entertaining guests at the White House. John F. Kennedy donated his salary to charities.
Date established Salary Salary in 2007dollars September 24, 1789 $25,000 $566,000 March 3, 1873 $50,000 $865,000 March 4, 1909 $75,000 $1,714,000 January 19, 1949 $100,000 $875,000 January 20, 1969 $200,000 $1,135,000 January 20, 2001 $400,000 $471,000
Traditionally, the president is the highest-paid public employee. President Bush currently earns $400,000 per year, along with a $50,000 expense account, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and $19,000 for entertainment. The president’s salary and total expense account serve as an unofficial cap for all other federal officials’ salaries, such as that of the Chief Justice. The most recent raise in salary was approved by Congress and President Bill Clinton in 1999 and came into force in 2001; prior to the change, the president earned $200,000, plus expense accounts. This was needed because other officials who received annual cost-of-living increases had salaries approaching that of the president, and in order to raise their salaries further, his needed to be raised as well. Monetary compensation for the president is minuscule in comparison to the CEOs of most Fortune 500 companies and comparable to that of certain kinds of professionals, such as attorneys and physicians in some parts of the United States. Overall the vast majority of U.S. presidents were very affluent upon entering office and thus were not dependent on the salary.
Filed under: Charles Skelley |