President-elect Donald Trump has announced he will give up his presidential salary of $400,000 (£319,500) and take just USD1 a year.
BBC News reported that he revealed his plan to receive nominal pay during an interview with 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl on CBS News.
Though he was unaware of how much a president made, Mr Trump said he thought he was required to take USD1.
After Ms Stahl told him it was USD400,000, he said: “No, I’m not going to take the salary. I’m not taking it.”
The president-elect is following through on a promise he made while on the campaign trail. He told a crowd last September that salary was “not a big deal” for him.
Have other leaders given up their annual salary?
Mr Trump is not the first US leader to extend the symbolic gesture of forgoing a salary. Herbert Hoover, who made his fortune in mining before taking office, and John F Kennedy, who inherited his wealth, both gave up their salaries and donated them to charity.
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney also gave up their executive pay for a buck.
Mark Zuckerberg is Facebook’s lowest-paid employee and among many billionaire CEOs earning USD1 in pay.
Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page have been taking a USD1 salary for about a decade while Oracle’s Larry Ellison took the same cut for several years while he was CEO. Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman also uses the same strategy.
But it’s worth noting these aforementioned business leaders received pay by other means, including equity stakes in their companies and other performance-based compensation.
In addition to the USD400,000, the US president also has a tax-free expense account worth USD50,000, according to a statute.
By comparison, the Canadian Prime Minister took a salary of C$340,800 (£201,202) last year.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel made $242,000 (£193,976) while French President Francois Hollande earned $198,700 (£158,000), according to a CNN Money report in August. Mr Hollande took a 30% pay cut when he assumed office in 2012.
The UK prime minister Theresa May earns $186,119 (£143,462) annually, although in the wake of the Brexit vote it has dropped in dollar worth.
Former Prime Minister David Cameron faced sharp criticism for taking a 10% pay rise in 2015, but he said “the right thing to do is to be paid the rate for the job”, adding that it “gives you the opportunity to do more in terms of charitable giving and things like that.”
When did the concept become popular?
Though Apple founder Steve Jobs popularised the $1 salary concept in Silicon Valley after returning to the company’s helm in 1997, business executives have sacrificed their salaries since WWI and WWII.
The “dollar-a-year men” consisted of prominent executives, bankers and manufacturers who volunteered to serve in government roles to help the war effort during WWI. Since US law prohibits unpaid work, these leaders accepted a token salary of only $1 a year.
The idea re-emerged during WWII, with executives hailing from such industry giants as Lockheed, Chrysler and Boeing stepping forward to serve their patriotic duty.
Will Donald Trump have other sources of income? Yes, and some have already come under scrutiny. Mr Trump’s financial arrangements have raised questions after he announced his three children – Donald Jr, Eric, and Ivanka – and Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner, were appointed to his transition committee.
Mr Trump is not required to sell his assets, which are estimated in the billions, and has said he would leave his business empire in a blind trust managed by his children.
However, the trust is arguably no longer blind, or under the control of an independent trustee, given that his children are involved his presidential transition.
So far, Mr Trump has refused to release his taxes, and it is unclear if his holdings in foreign countries will impact on US relations or shape his policy, underscoring a host of potential conflicts of interest, reported BBC News.
Source : The Heat Malaysia Online