Big-time political salaries

From Rush to Obama, Al Franken to Michelle Bachman -- a look at what they're paid


Vincent Rossmeier
September 3, 2009 9:15PM (UTC)

President Obama disappointed  federal employees hoping for a good-size raise to help them cope with this recession-stricken economy when he announced this week that  he'd cap pay increases at 2 percent for federal employees. In justifying his decision to limit the wage hikes, Obama invoked a "national emergency" clause. If Obama had not made the declaration, federal salaries would have risen an average of 18.9 percent, adding more than $20 billion to the federal budget.

What does this mean for Obama and his staff? And how do their salaries compare with other figures in the political world? Here's a closer look (Obama officials in bold):

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  • Unofficial head of the Republican Party Rush Limbaugh -- estimated at more than $50 million
  • Conservative Fringe King Glenn Beck -- $23 million, including $2 million from his TV show and $10 million from his radio show
  • "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart -- $14 million
  • "Hardball" host Chris Matthews -- Estimated at more than $2 million
  • President Barack Obama -- $400,000
  • Vice President Joe Biden -- $221,100
  • U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts -- $217,400
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- $186,600
  • Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.: $174,000
  • Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.: $174,000
  • Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel; Senior Advisor David Axelrod; White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs -- all  $172,200
  • South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford -- $106,078
  • Obama special assistant and "Body Man" Reggie Love -- $102,000
  • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal -- $95,000
  • Todd Palin -- $86,000 (Sarah Palin's husband made this figure working in commercial fishing and through a part-time job as a BP oil production operator)
  • White House executive assistant Ian Adams -- $36,000 (the lowest salary in the White House)
  • Typical U.S. House of Representatives page -- $18,817
  • New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- $1 (Forbes estimates Bloomberg is worth in excess of $16 billion, so it's not as if the fact that Bloomberg is forgoing the mayoral salary has put a huge dent in his financial portfolio)
  • California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger -- $0 (The Terminator does not accept the state's $206,500 salary for presiding over California's government)

Vincent Rossmeier

Vincent Rossmeier is an editorial assistant at Salon.

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