No matter what country in the world that you may be from, the salaries and benefits being paid to elected politicians have been a source of constant debate and fascination, most especially due to the fact that these officials do not seem to be getting any job done. It is also a huge frustration to taxpayers because depending on what country you are from, especially in the developing world, politicians’ salaries are astronomical and close to the median income of their area, making it appear to be a guaranteed payday for whoever is able to battle their way to an elected position.
Regardless of this, there are also different myths and fake stories that have floated around to get the emotions of the masses up due to the seeming pay disparity that might exist. With that, we have been able to compare what politicians make in the United States to those of other leaders from elsewhere in the developed, developing, and underdeveloped world.
Politicians Salaries in the United States
For serving as the commander-in-chief of the nation, the President of the United States takes home $400,000 a year. The occupant of the office of Vice President further gets paid about $231,900.
Members of the United States Congress (U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate) earn a base salary of $174,000 a year. There is an additional pay for the Senate and House positions which politicians occupy.
Governors, on the other hand, are paid between $70,000 and just over $190,000 for their work as their state’s top executive. According to the “Book of the States” by The Council of State Governments, the lowest-paid governor is that of Maine who takes home a salary of $70,000 while the highest-paid is Pennsylvania’s governor who makes $190,823 per year.
As one would expect, elected officials at local levels earn the least while those elected to state and federal offices earn the most. Note that these earnings exclude the lavish perks of office any official might receive, including free lifetime healthcare and access to taxpayer-owned vehicles and jets.
Earnings of Senior Elected Officials in Other Countries
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom takes home an annual salary of £149,440 (US $180,149) while the basic annual salary of a Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons is £79,468 (US $95,814). Like in the U.S., these elected officials receive a supplementary salary for their specific responsibilities and are also able to claim further allowances to cover the costs of running an office, employing staff, and maintaining a constituency residence and a residence in London, among other things.
Members of the House of Lords are not salaried because they are not elected officials, however, they can opt to receive a £305 per day attendance allowance, plus travel expenses and subsidized restaurant facilities.
The Australian Prime Minister takes home about $538,460 (US $361,392) while senators and members of parliament receive an annual allowance by way of basic salary of $207,100 (US $139,038).
Kenya, where politicians salaries and benefits have caused an uproar in recent times, has announced a review of the public wage bill which will lead to a pay cut for future elected officials. As at the time of writing, however, members of parliament take home an annual salary of $86,400 while the President of the nation is paid $192,200.
The Russian president’s salary is said to be the smallest among all top Kremlin officials, however, the exact details of what these other Russian politicians earn is not known. The leader of the European powerhouse himself officially takes home an annual salary of $136,000.
The Chief Executive of Hong Kong has an annual salary of $578,320. It is not clear what other senior elected officials in the Hong Kong government take home as salary.
The president of South Africa is among the lists of leaders who earn more than the average wage of its country’s citizens as he is paid R3.4 million a year (US $223,500). Members of Parliament, on the other hand, earn an average of R1.3 million per annum (US $85,496).
Politicians salaries in Canada are somewhat equivalent to that of their counterparts to the south of their border. All members of parliament in the northernmost North American country earn around $167,400 while the prime minister’s take-home pay is at $334,800.