US Presidents Salaries : The presidential salary is set by Congress and has only been increased five times from the original pay of $25,000
Why Does the President Have a Salary?
The President of the United States is given separate expense accounts, including non-taxable travel accounts and entertainment funds. Upon leaving office, former presidents are given a pension and office space. They have secret service protection. The first ladies of deceased ex-presidents also receive pensions. Factoring in all of those other perks, and the power that comes with the position, why do the taxpayers pay the president directly?
The reason is largely ideological. The rationale, as described by the founding fathers in the Federalist Papers, is that the president’s salary reinforces their status as an employee of and servant to the American public. A president who is not beholden to the people for his livelihood is more likely to act on their own interests.
Later generations may further argue that the presidential salary would be a necessity for any poorer citizens to get to the White House. In some states like New Hampshire, where representatives receive an annual salary of $200, it is financially impossible for many to hold public office.
Here are the salaries of the other members of government. The salaries listed below are annual as of 2021. They were last updated in 2009 under the Bush administration, and went into effect when Barack Obama took office.
|Majority and Minority Leaders||$193,400|
|Speaker of the House||$223,500|
|Chief Justice, U.S. Supreme Court||$255,500|
|Assoc. Justice, U.S. Supreme Court||$244,400|
1. Plus $50,000 non-taxable expense allowance to assist in defraying expenses relating to or resulting from the discharge of his official duties.2. Plus $10,000 taxable expense allowance.
US Presidents Salaries Throughout History
- 1789: The president’s salary was $25,000. It would have been worth around $800,000 at the end of 2021.
- 1873: President Ulysses S. Grant signed the bill that authorized his raise for his second term. The $50,000 salary would be worth $1.16 million in 2021.
- 1909: William Taft received a $75,000 salary. It would be worth $2.31 million in 2021.
- 1949: Harry Truman received a $100,000 salary. It would be worth $1.17 million in 2021.
- 1969: Richard Nixon’s $200,000 salary would be worth $1.53 million in 2021.
- 2001: George W. Bush received $400,000. That amount paid in 2001 would be worth about $633,500 in 2021.
- 2009: Barack Obama served from 2009 to 2017. He earned $400,000 a year while president, with a $50,000 expense account.
- 2017: Donald Trump’s term was from 2017 to 2021. He earned $400,000 a year with a $50,000 expense account. He donated this to a different federal department each quarter.
Presidents Who Did Not Take a Salary
- Donald J. Trump donated his $400,000 annual salary to various federal departments from 2017 to 2020.6 Trump’s net worth is about $2.5 billion.
- John F. Kennedy donated his $100,000 salary to charity. He was the beneficiary of a multimillion-dollar trust fund.
- Herbert Hoover divided his salary between various charities. He gave some of it to his staff. Hoover’s net worth was around $4 million in 1913, worth about $105 million today.
- George Washington donated his $25,000 salary. He used some of it for travel expenses. He needed a special chariot to take him through the rugged roads of the South.
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