Presidents Salary: Do Presidents Get Paid For Life?

No one climbs the political ladder with the sole aim of being extremely rich. Most political candidates know that the salary they will receive from the US government is not big and so they view it as compensation for their public service.

This is often the case because a lot of these politicians were already rich businessmen, or middle-class civil servants prior to contesting for a high government position.

Nevertheless, what exactly do presidents make in a year? Do presidents get paid for life? In this article, we will discuss those important questions

About Presidents

Some of these presidents, both current and former, are all millionaires or billionaires before becoming presidents.

For instance, the current president Joe Biden is reported to have some investments in the private sector making him a millionaire prior to becoming vice president in Obama’s regimen and now the elected President of the United States.

The former president Donald Trump was a well-known business mogul with multiple billion-dollar businesses and real estate ventures before he became the president.

These are just a few examples pointing to the fact that the internal motivation for striving to grab a seat of power in the US is not for the salary.

Political candidates have one thing in common – they want to make a good difference in the way state or federal affairs are handled so that America remains a great country.  

The above observation may not hold water in the politics of developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

In these areas, acquiring a strong political is a means of livelihood as embezzlements, corruption, and mismanagement of funds are the order of the day.

The intention for wanting a political seat in these areas is “an end to a means” and not “a means to an end”.

In the US, however, the salaries Presidents and other federal employees get paid are modest but above the average American salary.

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The salary has always been $100,000 for decades until President Clinton signed a legislative bill to increase the presidential pay to $200,000 in September 1999. That amount would be worth over 900k today when adjusted with the current inflation rate today.

Later on, on January 20, 2001, the U.S. Treasury increased the president’s salary to $400,000 and stated this appropriation to federal government notice (govinfo.gov).

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How much is the President’s Salary?

The best source of information on the exact salary figure that the President of the United States makes is not online. You can’t get the authentic answer from websites or online forums.

This is because the information on the exact salary of the President is not normally paraded online for public knowledge.

For instance, Indeed.com reports that the average base salary of a president in the United States is $115,603. However, they are two things wrong with this information.

First, the official document from the US Treasury (or House Appropriations Subcommittee on Treasury) already re Second, indeed.com states vividly that “the average salary for a president is $115,603 per year plus $25,000 profit sharing per year”.

They also revealed that the figure was obtained as the average of “783 salaries reported”. Therefore, the president salary indeed.com is referring to is that of the president of an organization or business conglomerate in the US. 

The payment

According to 3 U.S. Code & 102, the current US President makes $400,000 per year. The president and his vice receive this payment as federal employees. They are paid for their public service to the nation.

The Treasury leaves the president with a $50,000 expense allowance, $100,000 travel allowance, and $19,000 for entertainment each year.

So, the unused part of the $50,000 is refunded to the Treasury if the President doesn’t do many expenses.

And the question is, why will he? Just like the presidents before Joe Biden, he and the vice-president are given free housing in the White House with plenty of amenities.

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The White House contains over 120 rooms, 32 bathrooms, a bowling alley, a movie theater, and a sports center.

Joe Biden has the privilege of going for a presidential retreat in Camp David resort while Kamala Harris can stay at Number One Observatory Circle.

Furthermore, the perks to being the president besides hefty decision making are the presidential treat you’ll receive – good serenity of the White House, high-quality meals, and free transport via presidential limousine, Air Force One, and Marine One.

The White House has more than a hundred permanent staff making sure the President, and other federal government officials are well taken care of.

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Do Presidents get paid for life?

The answer to the above question is contained in the Former President Act (FPA).

The Former Presidents Act of 1958 is a US federal law with the objective of caring for former US presidents provided they were not evicted from office.

It created a ‘goodie bag’ for past Presidents to get paid for life, leaving them on the government’s payroll even after the end of their terms. There are several benefits and perks that the FPA offers to former presidents.

Former presidents get paid for life and to be specific $200,000 annual pension, medical care & health insurance, Secret Service protection, and a paid official travel expense. Let’s expatiate on all the above benefits.

#1. Pension:

As of 2021, the Secretary of the Treasury pays former presidents a taxable pension of $219,200 per annum. This is equivalent to the salary some highly placed government officials or company executives make in a year.

The pension starts being paid after the president and his wife have ended their 4yr or 8yr tenure as President of the United States (POTUS).

#2. Medical care & health insurance:

Former presidents are treated in military hospitals at subsided rates. The rates are determined by the Office of Management and Budget.

Two-term (i.e. 8 years) presidents are entitled to buy their health insurance under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

#3. Secret Service protection:

The Secret Service entitles the current POTUS and all former presidents to ten years of protection. This top-notch security covers them, their spouses, and children under 16.

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So that implies that as you’re reading this article, the likes of Barack Obama and Donald Trump are entitled to receiving the Secret Service protection if they choose to.

#4. Transition funding:

Immediately after a president’s departure from office, they become eligible to receive funds from the government for transition into their normal life.

This money is sent for seven months to the departing president. It covers the cost for new office space, printing and communications devices or software, and postage associated with the transition.

#5. Official travel allowance:

Although former presidents do not get to enjoy the presidential limousine or Airforce One there are compensated for travel expenses incurred when fulfilling an official role or making an official visit.

Conclusion

Being the POTUS for 4yrs or 8yrs does come with some great benefits while on the seat and after your tenure.

If you magically become the president of the United States, you will work hard doing a lot of administrative activities, holding countless meetings with mayors, senators, and ministers but you’ll be privileged to live like a king.

You may not be as rich as a billionaire but you’ll receive all the perks that go along with being the president of the United States (POTUS).

Also, you should note that while presidents receive salaries and enjoy royalty treatment, the president must perform duties such as negotiating treaties with foreign governments, signing into law, or enforcing the laws written by Congress.

You should also note that some presidents in the past have refused to accept their government salary or some of the perks discussed above.

Former presidents Donald J. Trump, John F. Kennedy, and Herbert Hoover, all donated their presidential salaries to charity. These men were already rich before being elected into the office of POTUS.

References

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