Theodore's World: Obama’s insulting salary stunt!

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April 05, 2013

Obama’s insulting salary stunt!

Obama’s insulting salary stunt

by Richard Cohen

The Washington Post

The president yesterday announced that he would return 5 percent of his salary to the Treasury Department. This is an effort to make common cause with federal employees who may have to take a similar paycut. This is the way this tone-deaf White House put it:

The president has decided that to share in the sacrifice being made by public servants across the federal government that are affected by the sequester, he will contribute a portion of his salary back to the Treasury.

The president makes $400,000 a year. In addition, he is provided living quarters on Pennsylvania Avenue, several limos, a very nice (Rose) garden, an (Oval) office and some very nice bedrooms, one named for a former occupant, the late President Lincoln. The president also gets a $50,000 expense account and an additional $100,000 for travel. The average government worker, I dare say, does not get quite that much for travel and might have to live in his or her own home, invariably not on Pennsylvania Avenue, necessitating a tiring and expensive commute.

But wait: This president is independently rich. He is rich by dint of his own talent and industry, but rich is rich –- and you probably ain’t. Obama has made a small fortune in book royalties, and last year the president and Michelle Obama reported an adjusted gross income of $789,674. Without having to Google it, I can say that the Obamas made more than your average federal employee –- even including overtime.

So the $20,000 Obama is kicking back to the Treasury is a pittance that will not be missed. (What’s the difference between $789,674 and $769, 674? Will the kids not go to camp? Is Hawaii out of the question for next summer? ) But 5 percent for someone making $100,000 is a different story. That’s five grand, and it well could be camp or a vacation. It is not chump change.

Obama was once poor –- although young and poor is not the same as old and poor –- so I know he can appreciate what that 5 percent can mean. The president was apparently responding to the symbolism of him living like a pasha while asking others to sacrifice. I understand. But his taking a wee haircut on his salary is just a PR stunt from the White House that’s more insulting than it is empathetic.

Wild Thing's comment..............

Excellent article.

Posted by Wild Thing at April 5, 2013 12:47 AM


Oh dear!! How can poor obama survive such a sacrifice??(sarc). Maybe if he gave up his taxpayer paid vacations, golf outings and his weekly White House parties he might actually feel the pain.

Posted by: TomR,armed in Texas at April 5, 2013 10:43 AM