Barack Obama is to forgo 5 per cent of his official salary in a move designed to show common cause with government workers hit by the so-called sequestration – budget cuts that are eliminating overtime for some and forcing others to take an unpaid leave of absence.
“The President has decided that to share in the sacrifice being made by public servants across the federal government,” the White House said. How impressed those workers will be is not clear – especially as the amount equates to $20,000 (£13,000).
Mr Obama’s salary – $40,000 a year – makes up only a portion of his family’s wealth (he and Michelle reported an adjusted gross income of almost $780,000 last year). “A PR stunt from the White House that’s more insulting than it is empathetic,” wrote columnist Richard Cohen in a Washington Post blog.