Wednesday, April 12, 2017

George Washington's Meager Salary?

The NYTimes blew one today, in an article discussing the renumeration clause of the Constitution, the authors wrote:
"But in a brief expected to be filed this month, Justice Department lawyers will counter that the framers of the Constitution meant only to rule out gifts and compensation for services, not ordinary, arm’s-length commercial transactions with foreign governments. Otherwise, they argue, the framers would have had to confront the potential effect of the ban on the nation’s earliest presidents, including George Washington, who supplemented his meager presidential salary partly by exporting flour and cornmeal to England and elsewhere."
 Problem is, George got $25,000 a year in 1789.  Depending on what measure you use, that's $694,000 or millions of dollars in today's values, hardly a "meager" salary.  By most measures he was one of the wealthiest of Americans, perhaps nearer the top than our current president (comparing wealth is the only way in which the two can be put in the same sentence) and his salary was certainly the highest (not many people drew a salary then--they drew profits from their enterprises).

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