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Obama's Salary Solidarity Is A Media Stunt

Christopher Robinson |
April 5, 2013 | 8:35 p.m. PDT


There was no need for the president to act as if he was making a sacrifice. (United States Congress, Wikimedia Commons)
There was no need for the president to act as if he was making a sacrifice. (United States Congress, Wikimedia Commons)
If you haven’t heard already, President Obama is returning five percent of his salary, about $20k, to the national Treasury. Why would the President do such a thing? He says that he's doing it to express solidarity with the ‘public servants’ who are going to be furloughed as a result of the sequester.

Returning his salary is a nice gesture, but I wonder with whom President Obama was in solidarity when he took a million-dollar golf vacation to Florida earlier this year? Or how he could be showing solidarity by giving his salary back to a federal government that’s proven itself beyond efficient at wasting money?

Have we forgotten that it was unbridled government spending that led to the need for cuts in the first place? President Obama returning his salary is just a stunt to fuel media fires. And fuel it is; the press is eating it up. In one case, the Associated Press wrote, “The president is demonstrating that he will be paying a price, too, as the White House warns of dire economic consequences from the $85 billion in cuts.”

‘Paying the price’ - that's rich! I’m sure he’ll really be paying the price while he still gets to enjoy all the other amenities that come with being the President, in comparison to the federal government employees facing furloughs. What’s more, most of the federal government employees facing furloughs thrived through the 2008 recession, while other Americans were losing their jobs altogether and had to tighten their belts.

If President Obama wants to express solidarity with federal employees, that’s fine. If he wants to keep his salary, that’s fine too. Returning the five percent quietly and privately would have been the best option. Or better yet, donating the money to a charity. There was no need for the President to act like he was making a sacrifice, or doing anything beyond what many people would have expected. Being noble when nobody is looking is always the best display of character.


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