A List of 100 Washingtonians and What They Make

By Paul Schwartzman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 7, 2009

Of all the touchy questions in life -- age, weight, quality of sex life -- none may be more taboo than the one that quickly and neatly crystallizes the value of an existence:

How much do you make?

Few people like to disclose their paycheck: not the rich, not the poor, not the in-between.

Earn too little, and you're subject to ridicule. Earn too much, and you're subject to even more ridicule.

Envy, too.

Yet has there been a time in recent history when a paycheck -- any paycheck -- seemed more precious than now, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, with unemployment edging toward 10 percent?

To commemorate Labor Day, The Washington Post has assembled the earnings of 100 Washingtonians, gathering the information through interviews and public records.

The gallery represents a cross-section of official and unofficial Washington, from President Obama to the doorman at the Madison Hotel, from the head of the National Rifle Association to a shoeshine man.

There are those who receive their pay in the form of salary and bonuses; there are those who collect theirs in a plastic cup.

Whatever the form of payment, the numbers suggest that it's good to be J.W. Marriott Jr., the CEO of the hotel chain, whose nearly $10 million in compensation last year was the most of anyone in The Post's gallery.

Toward the other end of the spectrum, a 77-year-old Abraham Lincoln impersonator took home a grand total of $9,000.

Then again, money isn't the only measure of a job's worth, no matter what others might think.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company