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US President’s salary: How much money does Joe Biden make?

While the salary offered for serving as President of the United States may be lower than many expect, there are many financial benefits long term.

WASHINGTON, DC - UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 15: The U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 26 in Maryland, United States on February 15, 2023. (Photo by Celal Gunes/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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The annual salary awarded to the President of the United States is $400,000. But, as we will explore shortly, this hasn’t always been the case. The salary might seem low to many, considering the responsibilities of the office. However, one should not ignore the awesome wealth-generating power of the position.

When President Obama took office, he was estimated to have a net worth of around $4.6 million in 2007. According to Business Insider, by 2022, that figure had risen to more than $70 million through speaking engagements, board appointments, and other projects. President Bill Clinton saw a similar increase in wealth. When Clinton began his first term, The Washington Post estimated Clinton’s net worth to be around $700,000. More than three decades later, that figure stands somewhere around $150 million.

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How has the presidential salary evolved over time?

The first eighteen men to serve as president, from George Washington to Ulysses S. Grant, earned $25,000.

The inflation calculator, in 2013 dollars, suggests that the value of this salary in today’s dollars, in real terms, fell from $840,365 in 1788 to $623,270 in 1873, when Congress enacted the first raise in history for the commander-in-chief.

Who is the first president to get a raise?

The annual salary rose to $50,000 in 1873, making Ulysses S Grant the first president to receive a raise in office. Presidents from Ulysses S Grant to Theodore Roosevelt earned this income, and over time, the value, in today’s dollars, increased from $1.2 million to $1.6 million between 1873 and 1909.

The salary of the president increases in value for the second time

The next increase came in 1909 when Congress approved a salary of $75,000. Presidents William H. Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Harry S. Truman all earned this annual salary, which fell in value from $1.6 million to $931,000 in 1948 when President Truman was elected.

In 1949, Congress raised the annual salary to $100,000, making Harry Truman the second president to receive a salary bump while in office. Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson would also make $100,000, which by the time Johnson took office had fallen from a value of $1.2 million to $859,600.

The next increase, which was enacted in 1969, was the largest to that point, doubling to $200,000. Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton all earned this salary, which was worth $1.5 million in 1970, but would fall to the lowest level so far, in today’s dollars, by 1999, $359,147.

In 2000, Congress again doubled the president’s salary, so Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden earned $400,000. However, in 2000, this salary was the equivalent of $694,936 today, while today, it is more like $408,000 because of how inflation has eaten away at the value of the dollar.