April 4, 2013

President Obama, creator of the sequester, is now piously contributing 5 percent of his salary back to the government.  The president’s spokesman says Obama wants to “share in the sacrifice being made by public servants.”  I wonder if giving this sudden news to the Treasury will further delay the president’s budget, which was due two months ago?

Share in the sacrifice?  What a joke. Obama won’t miss this paltry amount. He was only shamed into this when Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Tuesday he would lead by example and take the same pay cut as furloughed Pentagon employees.  There is no way the White House could explain why the 1 percenter-in-chief would not follow Hagel’s move.

The president is going to give back 5 percent of his salary, or $20,000.  That’s not 5  percent of his income, which has been on a roll since he first won federal office. Obama is probably the only president to get big-time rich while being president — not before or after his time in office but while he is serving.

The president’s income went from $991,296 in 2006 to $5,505,409 in 2009, his first year in The White House. Even after his book sales slowed in 2010 and 2011, he was still raking it in. He became a 1-percenter while working for the government. Wow. I wonder what he and other Democrats would have to say if a Republican president had spun gold in the Oval Office the way Obama has?

The president was doing okay as an underachieving Illinois state senator in 2003, with a jointly filed income that year of $238,327.  He hit it big when he was elected to the U.S. Senate, making $3,972,821 in 2007, plus his Senate salary of $165,200.  Then when he became president, cha-ching! And being president is a low-overhead proposition. Obama does not live cost-free in the White House, but it is close.

The president will want for nothing for the rest of his life. Good for him. The books he will write about himself will make zillions, the speaking fees will be easy money and he will never fly on a commercial airline or wait in a airport security line in his stocking feet fumbling to put his belt on the X-ray conveyor.

His 5 percent gesture is a cruel, cynical ploy that only his most slovenly apologists will see as sincere or even heartfelt. The president, who can’t even bring himself to submit a budget for the government as his job requires, should have his pay docked for non-performance in the workplace.

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.