Global Politics

Salaries of Heads-of-State Around the World

Who knows what Kim Jong Un's salary is, or if he even has one.

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I was wondering after I heard the White House announcement Wednesday about President Obama returning 5 percent of his salary. He's doing it in solidarity with workers who will be furloughed because of the sequester – remember the sequester?

Anyway, Obama makes $400,000 a year.

That's been the going rate since 2001: The salary had been $200,000 a year, but doubled when George W. Bush became president.

So that got me thinking about what other heads-of-state make. But the headlines are interesting.

If you want to be president just to rake it in, then do it in Singapore. The head of government there, Lee Hsien Loong, makes $2.2 million a year.

That might seem like a lot. But you kind of have to compare it to the average salary of the rest of his countrymen.

And then, it's still a lot, and puts Lee at number two in the world.

In that regard, the head of state with the biggest salary would be Uhuru Kenyatta. Not only is he the richest man in Kenya, full stop.

As newly elected president of the country, Kenyatta is now entitled to a salary of more than $425,000 a year. That is 240 times more than what the average Kenyan makes annually.

Using that gauge, Obama earns about eight times what the average American makes.

And the most modest head of state salary in the world: At just over $4,000 a year, India's prime minister Manmohan Singh earns just around twice the GDP of his countrymen.

Way to keep it real, Mr. Prime Minister.

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