Tags: white | house | raises | obama | salaries

Audacity of Hope: White House Staffers Got 8+ Percent Raises

Wednesday, 06 Jul 2011 11:48 PM

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Over the last year nearly half of the Obama White House’s staffers have received raises during a time when employment is stagnating and the vast majority of people in the private sector are doing without a raise.

Of the 270 White House staffers who have been there for more than a year, 146—or 54 percent—received raises, according to Gawker. The average salary increase was 8 percent. If you look at only staffers who got raises, the average increase was twice that.

That's a much bigger raise than the average white-collar worker got. According to a survey conducted last year by the human resources consulting firm Mercer, most firms were projecting a 3 percent increase in base pay for executives. White House workers did nearly three times as well.

And the White House's salary budget contracted only slightly, from $38.8 million to $37.1 million, largely because the number of staffers fell. The average salary also dropped from $82,721, or 65 percemt above the median household income, to $81,765—or 65 percent above the median household income, Gawker reports.

One of Obama's first acts as president was to freeze the salaries of all White House officials earning more than $100,000 because "during this period of economic emergency, families are tightening their belts, and so should Washington." Two years later, he extended that policy to all federal workers.”

But the across-the-board freeze didn't take effect until January 1, 2011, so the most recent report (which goes back to July 2010) features some eye-opening raises, like special assistant to the president for economic policy Matthew Vogel's $59,000, 82 percent raise to an annual salary of $130,500, or director of African American media Kevin Lewis' $36,000, 86 percent pay hike, Gawker reports.

Meanwhile, one Republican congressman on Wednesday criticized the White House for paying staffers too much in salary.

"I guess there's just so much greatness when you're associated with this White House that you deserve to be paid more," Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, said. "Let's face it, when you're a dictator, you need to be paid more."

Gohmert made clear his remark was meant to be sarcastic. However, he criticized the White House for paying 141 aides more than $100,000 per year. A report from the White House released Friday listed the salaries of 454 employees and showed that no staffer is paid less than $40,000, The Hill reported.

"It sounds like the only thing that's truly shovel-ready is all the bull that they've been feeding to us over the last two and a half years," Gohmert said on the Fox News Business channel. "That needs to be shoveled out in a hurry."

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