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Current and historical salary figures for the President and other federal government leaders

November 01, 2020

Written by Complete Payroll

united states president salary history flag

Happy President's Day!

Don't you love how you don't need to be a current or former POTUS to celebrate the holiday? The banks are closed today but we're hard at work. And we took a moment to celebrate President's Day the only way we know how to here in Payroll Country - by compiling interesting payroll and salary data about the federal government. Read on.

How much does the President make?

The initial salary for the President of the United States (POTUS) was set at $25,000 back in 1789. It has been raised only 5 times since then. Today, the POTUS makes $400,000 per year.

U.S. Presidential salaries over time.png

Although his term was from 1789-1797, George Washington initially took office with no official salary. Washington's salary was finally enacted on September 24, 1789, which was almost five months after he took office. Following George Washington, the idea of a fixed salary for both the president and the vice president has been consistent.

George Washington's Vice President (John Adams) and his cabinet members each earned salaries of $3,500.

How much do Supreme Court Justices make?

The Supreme Court has nine justices - one Chief Justice and eight other associate justices. When the salaries were initially set back in 1789, the Chief Justice earned $4,000 per year and the associate judges earned $3,500.

Supreme Court Justices' salaries over time.png

While the President's salary has only increased 5 times since 1789, the salaries for the Supreme Court Justices has increased 51 times over the same period. Currently, it has increased to $286,700 (Chief Justice) and $274,200 (associate judges) where it has remained since.

A Wikipedia article shows each salary increase, and adjusts each salary for inflation to show a comparison to 2016 dollars. Adjusted for inflation, the "biggest" salary a Supreme Court Chief Justice ever enjoyed was $68,800 back in 1969, which is equivalent to approximately $408,178 today.

How much do other senior US officials make?

The Vice President makes $235,100. A member of the Unites States Congress (both Senators and House Representatives) earn $174,000. Majority and Minority leaders each earn $193,400. And the speaker of the house earns $223,500.

Current salaries of senior US officials (2).png

The White House

According to a 2014 report from The Hill, The White House pays out a total of $37.8 million in salaries to a total of 456 employees (in Washington D.C. they're called staffers). That makes for an average salary of $82,844, although the salaries are top-heavy. The median salary is actually $70,000. 

The maximum salary for White House administrative staffers (non-elected representatives that aid the President) is $180,000. At the time of this report, there were 24 employees who were earning the maximum salary.

The lowest paid salary for a White House employee was $48,000.

Happy President's Day!

DISCLAIMER: The information provided herein does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, tax, accounting, or other professional advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation and for your particular state(s) of operation.

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