Feature

Obama’s ‘patronizing’ giveback

The president's $20,000 giveback is meant to equal the percentage by which many federal agencies are being cut.

Dana MilbankThe Washington Post

“For a man worth millions,” said Dana Milbank, “$20,000 is not much of a sacrifice.” Yet that “patronizing” sum is what President Obama is surrendering to show solidarity with the thousands of federal workers facing furloughs due to the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration. Equivalent to 5 percent of his $400,000 salary, Obama’s giveback is meant to equal the percentage by which many federal agencies are being cut. But 5 percent means nothing to him, while it’s causing real pain for furloughed federal employees and their families. “Whether or not he wanted it to happen,” Obama is responsible for sequestration: He created the idea along with congressional Republicans and signed the bill into law. Political fame has already made him a wealthy man, with $8 million in income from sales of his memoirs; when he leaves office, he will undoubtedly make tens of millions. If Obama really wants to share the sequester pain, he should give back “all but a dollar” of his $400,000 salary. He can earn that sum back when he leaves—“with a couple days’ work.” 

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