payday at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

How does the president get paid? Does he get a check every Friday? Every other Friday? Can we assume that he has direct deposit? Does he have to fill out a W-4 form right after inauguration? Is there a government 401K plan he can choose? Can he choose from different health-care plans?

of course I meant 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

I would venture to say that his staff takes care of it.

One of the duties of the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury is signing the President’s paycheck, so apparently he does get an actual check.

I believe the President’s salary is held in escrow, or something similar, with the effect being that he is not actually paid while he is in office.

Thread title fixed.

How can this possibly be true? This would basically mean that the president would have to have around four years of income saved up before he assumed the job.


What if he has a mortgage to pay on a house back home, or kids’ college tuition? Can we only elect Presidents who are wealthy enough to go four (or eight) years with no income?

ETA: beaten to the punch by gazpacho.

The President gets a $50,000 expense account, and and $19,000 for entertainment and $100,000 for travel. This page says other agencies often cover his other expenses, since $50,000 isn’t that much. As far as paying his prior costs goes, I don’t know. Wikipedia does note, in a rather understated manner, that Presidents are usually wealthy prior to their election.

Here are some more details about other expenses for the Prez. I can’t find a source to back up what I said earlier about the money being held until after the President leaves office, but I may not know what to search for there.

He probably wouldn’t be concerned with contributions to a retirement plan. The job comes with a very generous pension, instituted when we decided that it was unseemly that Harry Truman’s only income after he left office was his army pension.

The president’s salary is $400,000. That puts him in the top tax bracket, which (at least according to Wikipedia) means he has to pay $94,601.00 plus 35%. That comes to $234,601.00. That leaves him with $165,399.00, but you just listed $169,000.00 in other perks. Are those perks above his salary? If not, he’s $3,601.00 in the hole.

You misunderstand the nature of progressive taxation. $400k puts you in the top bracket, yes, but you only pay 35% on the amount of your income in that bracket.

That doesn’t seem correct. I just tried it on this tax calculator that uses the 2008 tax federal rules. I plugged $400k salary, single status, no deductions/exemptions. I get a tax of $116,689. If I try this tool, filing single, no deductions, I get $122,121 in taxes. How do you figure $95k + 35% ?

The President releases his tax payments every year, and every year they appear to reflect a $400,000 payment, with taxes paid. The forms can be found at the Tax History Project, including those for the candidates this year.

I’ve never heard that a president has his pay put in escrow. I’m 99.9% sure it isn’t true.

Firstly, as has already been noted, your tax calculations are off.

Second, that $169,000 in “other perks” are not income for the President. They are funds he can use in conducting business related to his job.

I see that my calculation was off. I was, indeed, lazy, and just went to Wikipedia, and breezed past the bracket for “single (unmarried) person” and, thinking, “The president is married!” and went to “2007 Tax Rates Schedule for married filing jointly” and it says the rate is $94,601 + 35%, ignoring, for example the standard deduction of $10,900 for married couples filing a joint return. From there I got the number I cited. Thanks for the correction. And thanks for the clarification of the $169,000.

I might point out, though, that my initial query, which was intended to be light-hearted, was not about how much the president was paid, but how. I found myself amused at the prospect of the president going down to payroll (not literally) every week to pick up his check. Or every other week. Or envisioning him checking his on-line account to see that his direct deposit went through. We don’t seem to have an answer to this question yet.

Great…now I’m wondering if it was always a pay check, or if the earlier presidents got paid in cash. (Or possibly livestock or wampum. :wink: )

And then the Prez gets in his vehicle and goes to the drive-thru at the bank on the corner.

Prez: Hi Helen!
Teller: Good afternoon, Mr. President!
Prez: Good afternoon. Yes, I would like $500 in cash and the rest in checking please.
Teller: Mr. President, I need to see your ID.

I remember seeing a television program at the Library of Congress. In it, they showed Abraham Lincoln’s bank book, which he filled out and took to the bank every month(or so). He hand wrote in how much he was paid(it was a lot for back then) and added up the total.

So back then, he was paid quite often.

Wasn’t George W. Bush the first President to make 400k +? Didn’t the raise start with him?

I literally LOL’d at that. Thanks!