White House releases 2010 salary report, showing budget increase of $4-5 million over final year of Bush administration

Amanda Carey Contributor
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Since 1995, the White House has been required by law to report to Congress every year on staff salaries. On Friday the Obama administration did just that. And this year’s report has its fair share of interesting findings.

For starters, the total budget has increased at least $4 million since the last year of the Bush administration, coming in just short of $39 million. And this year, it is the low-level staffers that are receiving salary hikes.

In the 2010 report, the lowest salary for a full-time employee is $37,826 for a records management analyst. In 2008, it was $33,400 for a staff assistant.  In fact, in the Obama White House, only two full-time staffers make below $40,000, and they’re just shy of $38K.

Compare that to the Bush White House, where a total of 85 staffers in 2008 made below $38,000.

In 2010, staff assistants in particular received a drastic pay increase. In the current White House approximately 20 staff assistants make $42,000. In 2008, only two staff assistants received salaries just shy of $42,000. The majority made anywhere between $33,000 and $36,000.

Comparing salaries for identical positions from the Bush administration to the Obama administration, there are numerous notable increases. For example, in 2008, Christopher Byrne, who was assistant to Press Secretary Dana Perino, received $49,100. In 2010, Marissa Hopkins, who holds the exact same position under Robert Gibbs, makes $60,000.

Also interesting is the salary increases for employees who have worked in the Obama White House since 2009. Two of Obama’s speechwriters, for instance, Cody Keenan and Jonathon Lovett, received dramatic increases without a change in title or position. In 2009, both made $45,000. In 2010, they received a pay raise of $30,000 and both now make $75,000.

The top earners in the White House (other than Obama himself) include Economic Policy Director Larry Summers, Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer, Senior Advisor David Axelrod, Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, and Director of Speechwriting Jonathan Favreau — all at $172,000.

Other interesting facts were noted by William Collier at The Freedomist. According to Collier, 168 of 469 White House employees make less than a third of what the top 109 employees make. In other words, less than 32 percent of the budget is divided between the bottom 52 percent of employees.

Some may call that a significant pay gap. Regardless though, the lowest-paid White House employee making $42,000 still earns more than the national average of $39,000 in personal income.