The presidency is a highly contested position and is in the eyes of the whole world. The president must ensure continued economic growth and financial prosperity of the US. The President's of the US have always been handsomely remunerated. They earn a salary, allowances, and upon retirement, they are entitled to a monthly pension. The president’s pay has been reviewed five times since embracing presidency to be at par with the economic forces. The President of the US is among the highest paid presidents in the world.
Role of the President of the United States
The President of the United States leads the government of the country as well as the state. The President also directs the policy-making division of the national government on top of being the country's commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces. Most nations consider the President as the most influential figure in politics because of the contemporary global superpower nature of the United States. The President has the powerful role in commanding the most expensive military in the world and having a large nuclear arsenal. The nation that the President leads is also a nation that tops the economy as per the nominal Gross Domestic Product. The President also has soft and hard powers in both domestic and foreign niches.
The first president earned an annual salary of $25,000 back in 1789 which would be considerably higher today, being an equivalent of $600,000 in today’s exchange rate. Congress and President Bill Clinton approved the most recent increase in 1999 and effected it in 2001. Since 2001, the President of the United States has earned an annual salary of $400,000. The president also receives $50,000 for yearly expenses, an entertainment allowance of $19,000, and tax-free travel allowance of $100,000 per year.
A normal working day for a president is roughly 12 to 13 hours translating to approximately 91 hours per week. Thus, without falling sick, the president will work for approximately 49 weeks per annum. This translates to a remuneration of close to $90 per hour.
The President officially resides in the White House in Washington DC and they get access to refreshments, security, healthcare, and housework services there. Moreover, the government of the United States gathers for the President’s expenses during state dinners and other formal functions, but the President pays for family, guests, and personal food. The secondary President's place of residence and the official guesthouse is the Blair House in the White House Complex, while Camp David serves as the country's point of retreat and observant security of the Presidents and visitors.
The President travels on the ground by the presidential state car and through air by one of the two identical Boeing VC-25 aircraft. One of the two aircraft usually serves the in-country trips of the President, but the two of them serve the overseas travel by the President. Besides, the President has the right of entry to the 35 United States Marine Corps helicopters of different models, which have the designation "Marine One" whenever the president is on board any specific one of the fleet.
The sitting President (together with the first family) is entitled to the United States Secret Service that provides Secret Service code names to the President and the first family as part of their security. The code names provide clarity, brevity, and tradition and they were initially used in protecting electronic communications that lacked encryption.
Is the First Lady Also Paid?
The first lady’s post is neither a political nor an elective post. The position is simply ceremonial. The government does not remunerate the office holder. Nevertheless, there is an allowance for her activities if she is championing a worthy transformational cause. The budget depends on the worth of the project.
Forgoing the Presidential Salary
Several presidents have made attempts to forego their pay, among them Herbert Hoover, John F. Kennedy, and the sitting president Donald Trump. Nevertheless, according to a debate in the era of President George Washington, it is not completely possible for a head of state to completely forgo his pay as he is required by law to receive it since he might be tempted to fall into corrupt deals.
Each of the former Presidents is entitled to an office, a staff, and a pension as per the Former Presidents Act. The Congressional approval has been able to make the pension rise several times and currently, retired presidents get a pension based on the salary of the current cabinet secretaries of the government. The amount of this pension in 2012 was $199,700 annually and the former presidents who were in Congress during the time of their services receive congressional pensions on top of the regular pension. Moreover, retired presidents get access to travel funds and secret protection services.