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Many people believe that no one should make more than the President of the United States. In fact, the fine folks on Capital Hill are making limits to executive compensation a major feature of their reform proposals. So, just how much does the President make? His salary is $400,000. But is that really the only compensation that he receives?

You know, he does get to live, rent free, in a 55,000 square foot mansion in the center of one of the most prosperous cities in America. That is probably worth alone well over a million bucks per year. Here is “Dealbreaker’s” breakdown of the total value of the President’s compensation. Some highlights:

Annual cost of helicopter fleet: $260,000

Personal chef and kitchen staff: $300,000

… total estimated compensation as President: $59,639,889

And that does not include the non-pecuniary value of having the power to destroy the planet at the touch of a button, to command millions of people at your pleasure, to have everyone call you Mr. President, and so forth. Furthermore, this analysis also says nothing about how becoming President of the USA is likely to enhance your future earnings beyond what they would have been were you not elected. My guess is that it would translate into at least $1 million per year. Assuming that Mr. President lives another 40 years after 2017, that adds roughly $17 million in present value terms to his current wealth.

Even if you believe the $60 million figure is bananas (is it though: ask yourself, assuming you were President, how much would it require someone to pay you, annually, to step down from the job?), so too is the $400k figure. I don’t have the list of CEOs in front of me, but I doubt many make $60 million per year.

The bigger point is not that any of this is outrageous, but that it is less important than you think. In fact, I am relieved when I see what the financial rewards to being President are – isn’t that a good way to attract qualified candidates? If you like Obama, you should be thrilled that he prefers the Presidency and $60 million to running some big law firm and $90 million per year.

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