How Much Do Federal Elected Officials Really Make?

A lot of people freak out about how much money our elected government spends, often choosing to go the route of, “Let’s stop paying them and see what happens to their policy-making!”  First of all, most Representatives/Senators/Vice-Presidents/Presidents made far more money in the private sector than they do in government.  Beyond that, when they were in the private sector, they built up enough capital so that many of them choose to not take a salary, to utilize loopholes in tax law.  But, OK; I’ll appease the argument for a moment and give you the numbers.

432 Representatives: $174,000/year/Rep
Majority Leader: $193,400/year
Minority Leader: $193,400/year
Speaker of the House: $223,500/year

98 Senators: $174,000/year/Senator
Senate Majority Leader: $193,400
Minority Party Leader: $193,400

Vice President: $230,700/year
President: $400,000/year

The grand total for payment of elected officials at the Federal level is a whopping .002% of the federal budget – just shy of $94,000,000/year.

That’s the same amount of money as we allocate to buy 60 Tomahawk missiles.

That’s enough money to buy 60% of an F-35.

Or operate two submarines for a year.

3 thoughts on “How Much Do Federal Elected Officials Really Make?

  1. There are so many directions I want to go with this, but I will limit my bobble head tendencies for the moment.
    1. Tomahawk missiles are relatively obsolete. The Atlanta Braves Tomahawk chop is more useful.
    2. 94 million doesn’t sound like a lot. There are many collecting a retirement from Congress (eligible after serving 5 years) who are not included.
    3. -Merica.

    • From what I can tell, it makes much more sense to spend $4mil on a Predator than it does $1.5mil on a Tomahawk.

      I didn’t think to factor in retirement. Or how POTUS gets Secret Service protection for life, and what that costs. That would be a lot of numbers. The reason I made this was because of peoples’ arguments that we should cut their salaries to make them effect policy changes – retired guys don’t write policy.

  2. It’s a good response to that argument. People who use that argument would be better served arguing for a Congress like in days prior. A time when they were not paid, but more importantly only volunteered a few weeks out of the year.

    Ever notice significant policy seems to pass at the last moment, just before an election, or just after? If they were constrained by a clock with minimal battery life I believe more would be accomplished.

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