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What world leaders are paid

Everyone who's ever had a boss has probably thought that the person in charge was overpaid.

The Economist takes that speculation a step further, looking at what some leaders of the free world make -- yes, I specifically chose the word "make" instead of "earn" -- compared to their countries' gross domestic product (GDP) per person.


Click image or here for a larger view.

No, fellow Americans, Obama is not the highest paid. Our president's income, according to the magazine, is around eight times America's GDP per citizen. That's about on par with Japan and Germany.

The pay for the leader of Singapore tops the overpaid national boss list, coming in at more than 40 times the city-state's GDP per person. I do hope that he at least pays a decent amount in taxes back to the nation's treasury.

And yes, you are seeing correctly. Those Singapore figures are second on the list.

As the graph indicates, the Kenyan prime minister would have taken the dubious honor as the most overpaid leader, but Raila Odinga had the decency to turn down a proposed raise that would make his salary 240 times the GDP per Kenyan.

The proposed increase for the African nation's leader is part of a move by that country's Members of Parliament (MP) to also substantially increase their own income, to $175,000 a year per MP to be precise. This in a country where farm workers earn $40 a month.

A final vote on the Kenyan politicians' proposed pay hikes is expected this week, but it's run into some problems. Kenya's Finance Minister has "been honest enough to state the obvious. The country cannot afford it; it was not in the annual Budget, approved in parliament only a few days ago. Unless: the country borrows money, or taxes are raised."

And even if taxes were raised, the politicians wouldn't have to worry, reports SperoNews. Kenyan MPs don't pay income tax.

Wow! In this case, the Kenyan politicians make U.S. Members of Congress look like rank amateurs in their pay-raising efforts.

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Thanks, Taxrascal, for the elaboration on Singapore's payment of public officials.


SIngapore has a deliberate policy of paying public officials very well. They also publicize these numbers:


It works. High officials have no incentive to take bribes. The private sector can't hire them out at double the salary.

It makes the US look quite absurd. We have regulators (in e.g. energy, banking, defense) negotiating with people who make literally an order of magnitude more than they do. Those officials can't help but notice that if they play nice, they get a private-sector sinecure when they retire from public service.

In Singapore, on the other hand, it would put a real dent in your P&L to re-hire the defense minister at more than his multi-million dollar salary.

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