President-elect Donald Trump has decided to reject his entitled salary of $400,000 per year. An easy decision for a man worth a purported 3.7 billion dollars, but much harder for the ordinary citizen to imagine. In fact, this action hasn't been taken by a sitting president since John F. Kennedy also shunned his presidential paycheck. For Trump, a man who spends $100 million dollars on a personalised and customised Boeing 757, $400,000 a year (roughly $33,000 a month) is small potatoes, but what could it buy in the real world? You know, where people actually have to budget for their groceries and save up for vacations?
How much is a presidential salary really worth, to regular folk? First, you need to calculate how long it would actually take to earn that sort of money.
A McDonald's worker making $8.51 per hour would have to work for more than 22 years to earn just one year's worth of the President's salary.
A Teacher living in South Dakota would have to work for 20 semesters and teach an average of 230 students before they could hope to amass a salary matching the President's.
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A personal support assistant caring for the elderly in Georgia or Wyoming and making the $5.15 an hour state minimum wage would have to work more than 77,000 hours to clock close to $400,000.
But once your hard toil has earned a whopping $400,000, what could the average Joe spend it on? A university education costs an average of $80,000, so with Trump's windfall, you could put 5 kids through college.
An average cost of a vacation for a family of 4 is just under $5,000, so for Trump's salary you could take 80 memory making trips, that's three trips a year for 26 years!
$400,000 would be almost enough for a couple to retire on if your annual retirement income nets you $20,000 each to spend per year.
It's quite clear that earning $400,000 is a fairly difficult task for the average working American, but if you do manage to bring home the big bucks, $400,000 doesn't actually stretch that far.
Just one long weekend away could chip into almost a quarter of that windfall, a one night stay in the penthouse suite at Hotel Victor, in Miami's South Beach, will run you $6,000. So why not stay for a long weekend (and add in their signature spa treatment of an Evian and Gerbera daisy bath) for a grand total of $23,000?
You'll need to get there too. First class flights and private transfers will run you about $3,500. You obviously have to take a special friend along to make it a romantic weekend to remember, so make that $7,000.
Of course, you'll need luggage for your weekend away, so pack up your Louis Vuitton rolling suitcase at $10,500 and vanity cosmetic case at $4,050.
You'll want to dress to impress during the weekend so make sure you are wearing the latest designer fashions, Vogue has the ultimate packing list for a romantic weekend away totalling $4,232. Don't forget to keep all your essentials in a beautiful handbag like the YSL Cabas bag at $3,599.
Restaurant costs at the hippest venues, including alcohol, will run you a gastronomic bill of about $9,000.
You're celebrating so be sure to include a 1961 bottle of Moet & Chandon Dom Perignon for $4,309. But, realistically, you're away for 3 days so make that 3 bottles at $12,927.
This example of a 3-day long weekend living the high life like a Trump has cost almost $75,000! Our aforementioned personal care worker would have to work 40 hours a week for 37 long years to afford this lavish getaway.
It's quite clear that a dollar's worth has a different value for the working person compared to the super rich and Trump most definitely doesn't need his salary. But who or what would benefit from an almost half-million dollar investment? Here are some options:
- The much maligned, defunded, and threatened Planned Parenthood could certainly use Trump's rejected wages. $400,000 donated to PP could fund women's health screening, education programs, and reproduction health reform.
- Trump's proposed attacks on the freedom of the press mean a donation to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is even more important than ever before, Trump's $400,000 paycheck could help to fund legislation reform to protect civil liberties for all citizens.
- The National Centre For Transgender Equality works to advocate for equal rights and opportunities for transgender people and to fight the adoption of any discriminatory laws or practices. $400,000 would extend education to the private sector and pay a LOT of attorney bills.
$400,000 might just be pocket change to President-elect Trump, but to many Americans, it's a king's ransom. To many groups fighting inequality, prejudice, and threats to their civil liberties, it could make all the difference.
Even if you don't have a cool 400 grand to spare, you can still make a difference when you donate to these organizations. More here.