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Presidential Pay

Posted By Jim On 01/22/2013 @ 7:20 am In Personal Finance | 18 Comments

Did you know that President Barack Obama is the lowest paid President in the history of the United States of America?

This is, historically, how much the President has been paid:

  • Sept 1789 – Mar 1873: $25,000
  • Mar 1873 – Mar 1909: $50,000
  • Mar 1909 – Jan 1949: $75,000
  • Jan 1949 – Jan 1969: $100,000
  • Jan 1969 – Jan 2001: $200,000
  • Jan 2001 Onward: $400,000

You might see that list and say – “Hey Jim, you’re wrong, President Obama is paid the same as every President since Bill Clinton.”

Yes, but he is the lowest paid when you take into account inflation. Inflation always gets you!

The Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI Inflation Calculator only goes back to 1913 so we can only say that the $75,000 in 1913 has the same buying power as $1,744,098.48 today, we suspect that the salaries that pre-date that one all have similarly high current day values (if not higher).

If we go back to 1969 and calculate the value of $200,000 in today’s dollars, you’d probably be surprised to hear it’s worth $1,254,610.35. And for the thirty-plus years that the salary didn’t change, the purchasing power of Presidential pay continued to shrink. $200,000 in 2001 is worth just $259,989.84 today. It’s stunning to think that Richard Nixon was paid as much as Bill Clinton.

As for President Obama, he recently issued an executive order [3] that would raise the pay of the Vice President, Members of Congress, and other government officials in 2013. He didn’t give his office a raise though.

(Photo: sadams [4])


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[3] issued an executive order: http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/obama-orders-raise-biden-members-congress-federal-workers_692223.html

[4] sadams: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sadams/7486619/sizes/s/

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