Is President Obama Really Worth His Six-Figure Paycheck?

presidential salary

When Robert Rizzo, former Bell city administrator, was found guilty of siphoning a fat annual income of almost a million dollars into his bank account, the public responded with outrage. It seems reasonable, then, that Barack Obama’s six-figure presidential salary is much easier for Americans to accept, considering his countless responsibilities and role as the nation’s Commander-in-Chief.

Considering even the president doesn’t rake in as much money as other political figures, the enormous salaries politicians pull in are raising concern over whether the nation’s leadership is worth citizens’ hard-earned savings.

We contend that the most popular political seats of local and national government have proven that they do, in fact, deserve their sizable paychecks, and those at higher levels of political power may actually be underpaid in comparison to their list of responsibilities.

City Council Salary

A city council member holds a seat that is often overlooked in terms of the amount of influence they have over the community they oversee.

The wages of a city council member varies from region to region. For example, members of the Los Angeles city council make an average of $178,789 each year. Similarly, Philadelphia city council seat holders receive a significant $121,107 in annual salary, as noted on a report issued by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

What do these local leaders do, exactly? Primarily, their role is to allocate funds to the Mayor’s proposed budget.

But it’s not just about basic dividing and subtracting — they are left to make challenging judgment calls and develop solutions to resident issues like traffic congestion, fire and police protection and even sewage disposal.

U.S. Congress

Congress is the governing body consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Congress is the key component in nation’s governing legislative body. The 435 House representatives and 100 Senators are entrusted to protect the welfare of the citizens of the United States.

A few responsibilities include mandating and collecting taxes, creating new laws, determining how the national budget is spent, exercising the decision to borrow money on credit and reserve sole exclusivity in declaring war.

That’s a pretty tall order, yet the rank-and file-members of Congress — in terms of the  U.S. senator salary and House of Representatives salary — put forth just $174,000 annually to govern a population of over 300 million people. Considering that some city council members in the country make more than this is a clear example that power doesn’t always equal pay.

Vice President Salary

Joe Biden’s vice president salary naturally inches closer to President Obama’s yearly wages at $230,700. The second-in-command has a whole host of responsibilities attached to his high-profile title, but compared to the defined roles other political seats hold, the Vice President of the United States’ duties are defined primarily by the needs of the president.

For instance, the president may request that his Vice President take charge of reviewing a particular policy portfolio or act as his lead adviser. Biden is recognized as the President of the Senate, wherein he executes his final vote in the event of a tie. As next-in-line to the President, however, his greatest task is to be prepared to take on the presidency should the need arise.

Presidential Salary

Leading an entire country and protecting the welfare of its citizens is a challenge that only a select few living individuals can fathom. While there’s no $1 million presidential salary check made out to President Barack Obama every year, he still receive a sizable income.

What does the United States president pull at the end of the year? A cool $400,000.

This top-dollar compensation is offered in return for the President’s service, which includes a laundry list of presidential responsibilities like vetoing bills or signing legislation into law, engaging in international diplomacy, issuing executive orders, extending pardons for federal crimes and giving a State of the Union address, among many other political appearances.

Citizens’ tax dollars usually go toward fair pay in proportion to the responsibilities shouldered by these political figures, but as any profession goes, a few outliers like Rizzo find a way to budget a few extra dollars into their salary equation.