Most people know that the annual salary for President Bush is $400,000, and some may be aware that Vice President Cheney’s is $212,100, but what about everyone else who works in the White House? It would seem like a dream job: famous boss, getting to ride in President Bush’s limo and a high salary, right?
According to an article in the National Journal, staff assistants (those who respond to the President’s mail and answer phones) in the White House make an annual salary of $30,000. That’s not really high pay, especially in the Washington D.C. area, where rent can be pricey. However, with the White House address on their resume, those staffers will probably see an increase in their career salary down the road.
Their salaries pale in comparison to the "Director of Lessons Learned", who makes an annual salary of $106,641. What the heck is a Director of Lessons Learned? The position was reportedly created by President Bush after Hurricane Katrina, to study what went wrong with the government’s response.
Does your salary look like it was hit by Hurricane Katrina? Find out with our salary calculator.
White House Address = Great Career Salary?
Who decides who gets paid what in the White House? Not surprisingly, salaries are approved by President Bush, within the limitations of the Executive Office budget which is first approved by Congress. One staffer who got a bump in pay was Anita McBride, the chief of staff for the First Lady. McBride currently earns an annual salary $149,000, which is a $16,000 increase from last year (Note to self: Send resume to Laura Bush, not George).
At the top of the salary ladder are various high-ranking assistants and lawyers (counsel) to the President. For instance, Karl Rove, Assistant to the President, Deputy Chief of Staff & Senior Advisor, earns an annual salary of $162,500, as does Former Supreme Court nominee, Harriet Miers, who serves as Counsel to the President. That is less than most attorneys with her experience. A typical lawyer in Washington D.C., with 10 to 19 years of experience, makes an average salary of $173,000, with a high end of $281,000.
But when Miers leaves the White House, she will probably have her choice of law firms and a higher career salary… she just won’t get to sit on the Supreme Court.
Thank you, President Bush
An important part of the White House is speechwriting. The Assistant to the President for Speechwriting earns $165,200, while the Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Speechwriting earns a starting salary of $122,000. Then there is the Special Assistant to the President for Speechwriting who makes an annual salary of $95,000. But how much do the actual speechwriters make? Their annual salaries range from $42,300 to $60,000.
Of course, there are some jobs that you would probably only find at the White House address, not in the private sector. How would you like to be the “Director of Presidential Personal Correspondence”? The starting salary for that gig is $63,000. Do you have strong ethics? White House Ethics Advisors clocks in at annual salaries of $100,547 and $114,688.
One of our favorites was “Gift Analyst,” which pays a starting salary of $30,000 for logging the gifts that President Bush receives. Not sure where the actual “analyst” part comes into play there. Sadly, there is no Presidential food taster, as in the days of kings.
Private Sector vs. Public Sector
Are there any jobs at the White House that actually ring of the private sector? The White House Paralegal draws a salary of $44,500, but compare that to a paralegal working in the private sector. Paralegals in Washington D.C. make an average salary of $57,800, with a high end of $74,200. An Executive Assistant in the White House earns an annual salary of $36,200, but if that same Executive Assistant got a job outside of the White House address, he or she could make an average salary of $52,636.
The receptionist in the West Wing has it much better; that position pays a starting salary of $42,400; far more than a receptionist down on K Street in Washington D.C., with 10-19 years of experience, making an average salary of $29,900.
How does your salary poll against the salaries of these White House staffers? Find out with our salary survey.