Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ladies And Gentlemen, The President Of The United States

How important is the office of the president of the United States to us? How much do we value it?

The United States population is more than 304 million people.

304 million people to choose from, and George W. Bush is our president?

304 million people to choose from, and either Barack Obama or John McCain will be our next president. Can’t we do better than this?

The president of the United States makes $400,000 a year.

The chief executive of a Standard & Poor's 500 company makes, on average, $14.2 million a year.

What does this say about us as a nation? What does it say about how much we value the president?

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that any one person is worth $400,000 a year, let alone $14.2 million.

One of the arguments for high CEO pay is that it is necessary to attract good candidates. Why this is so in this age of corrupt and incompetent CEOs is beyond me, but why isn’t the same argument used for the office of the president of the United States?

1 comments - Post a comment :

The skepTick said...

The Constitutional Congress debated not paying the president anything at all. They didn't want money as a motivation for seeking office. But then they also realized this would leave people of humbler means out of the running since they weren't wealthy enough to get by without pay during their years in office.

However, as things have turned out, only the rich can get into office given the price of campaigns. Even though you can get paid a salary while running for office (and it can be a quite sizable one), campaign expenses are even higher. So only someone with name recognition, power, or a sizable fortune stands any chance.

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