Does your mouth move when you Tweet?

Did Obama lie about White House salaries in Twitter town hall?

Sounds like a silly question, doesn’t it? If the subject came up at all, the answer is probably…


During his Twitter town hall, Barack Obama wanted to let Americans know that his administration feels the nation’s economic pain just like everyone else. Why, his staff — well-paid as they are, with 21 of them making the maximum $172,200 per year — haven’t had a raise in more than two years, ever since Obama froze federal salaries in the first few months of his term:

Which part of this statement will turn out to be a lie? Answer: How many parts are there?

So who’s telling the truth? Hint: it’s not the master of Hope and Change. First, not all White House salaries were frozen for two years. Obama froze salaries of White House staff making over $100K two years ago, but the across-the-board federal freeze that impacts the rest of the staff didn’t take place until January 2011. That’s how economic adviser Matthew Vogel got an 82% pay increase (of $59,000 to $130,500) in 2010. Vogel wasn’t the only one to get his income nearly doubled, but given how the economy has performed over the past two years, this particular raise seems … less than justified.

The freeze didn’t make much difference, anyway. The staff got raises through a nifty little dodge: job title or description changes. In some cases, though, the dodge got a little more sophisticated. Michael Gottlieb quit his post of special assistant and associate counsel, only to take the job again — at a 14% increase in pay, from $114,000 to $130,500. Nearly everyone remaining at the White House has had a pay increase over the last two and a half years.

Clearly, it depends on the definition of “increase.”

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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