Second only to democrats coming out in support of gay marriage, all the rage in Washington is for officials to take a pay cut in support of government officials who may face a furlough.
Obama and several other cabinet members rushed this week to day they would turn back some of their salary to the U.S. Treasury as a gesture of solidarity with federal workers facing furloughs. So far, Secretary of State John Kerry, Attorney General Eric Holder, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano have all said publicly that they would be giving back portions of their $200,000 salaries.
A nice gesture, I have to admit. Something that I think helps in regards to the optics of the whole situation. However, Joe Biden isn’t all in, yet:
Others, like Biden, have said they will return a portion commiserate with the number of days their department’s employees are furloughed.
But Biden’s decision not to follow Obama’s lead and return a flat portion of his salary — and the possibility that nobody on the vice president’s staff will be furloughed — has already prompted speculation in the media that Biden was looking to sidestep the pay cut.
I think that there are two reasons for Biden holding onto his money – actually three:
- He’s a democrat. And democrats don’t like to part with their money for charitable reasons.
- He rightly thinks that he’s earned the money and has a right to keep it.
- He doesn’t have a lot of money and so a $11k cut would hurt.
Actually, I suspect all three reasons contribute to Biden’s reluctance to subject himself to a voluntary tax, but The Hill takes the high road and points out that Joe isn’t independently wealthy:
Unlike some members of the Obama Cabinet, he is not independently wealthy.
Obama’s net worth is estimated at between $3 million and $8 million and Secretary of State John Kerry’s wealth is in the range of $200 million according to The Hill’s “50 wealthiest lawmakers: list.
Biden’s net worth in comparison, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, is around $230,000, an amount roughly equivalent to his annual salary.
When I first read that this afternoon I kinda nodded and was like, “yeah, that makes sense. He should be expected to give up 5% of his net wealth in a show of support.” However, it then hit me, how does a senator who makes north of $150,000 a year, and now a Vice President who makes north of $220,000 have a net worth of only $230,000?
How is that possible?
If this is true, it means that the Vice-President of The United States of America is almost living hand to mouth.