As a federal employee, I find the thought of Congress giving the president a 100 percent raise when he has given reduced raises to the federal rank and file for the past six years unacceptable [news story, May 25]. Following the same argument the Clinton administration has used, the president's salary must be evaluated in the context of the other benefits he receives while serving as president and after he leaves office:
The president receives free housing during his four years in office (a benefit worth at least $80,000 a year assuming a $1 million residence).
The president has a fleet of taxpayer-supported limousines at his disposal (a benefit worth more than $10,000 a year assuming a car worth $70,000 to $80,000).
The president receives free medical care during his time in office; medical care that does not require a copayment, a referral or an appointment six months in advance.
The president and his family receive free personal travel on a fleet of U.S. Air Force jets.
The president receives a lifelong pension after four to eight years on the job (a benefit unparalleled in the private sector).
These are just a few of the benefits the president receives that senior executives (private and public), rank-and-file federal workers and the rest America have to worry about obtaining on their own every month.
The president's salary and benefits package should parallel that of a typical Fortune 500 executive. And it should be adjusted for those expenses that every other worker in America must pay for but that the taxpayers provide for the president.
JOHN SCALIA JR.