Top Obama aides make $99,712 more than average Americans

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

President Obama's top political appointees average $142,691 annually, more than three times the average American wage of $42,979--a difference of $99,712 a year.

Deep inside a new Government Accountability Office audit of the 321 presidential appointees working for the government are details showing that the 94 who Obama works closest with earn a range of $120,000 to $172,000, a top paycheck that is more than double the median income in Washington, the nation's highest income region.

A majority of the remaining presidential appointees, said the GAO, work in agencies and on commissions where they earn up to $634 a day. For example, the presidential appointee on the "International Water and Boundary Commission" earns $165,300, and the seven appointees on the Arctic Research Commission make $596 a day. There are 74 who earn nothing.

The GAO also found some exceptions. The presidentially appointed director of the National Cancer Institute earns $350,000 and the director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture makes $179,700.

The report comes as the president is struggling to whip up the public's anger against the sequester cuts, some of which might hit federal workers, forcing them to take one unpaid day off per month. Some operations, however, expect no cuts. For example a notice from the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia that covers Harrisonburg to Roanoke expects no furloughs.

Even by Washington standards, the presidential pay is high. In the D.C. area, the Census Bureau said the average median household income is $84,523 and the Social Security Administration pegs the average American wage at $42,979.