The President of the United States arguably has the most important, and the most stressful job in the world, for the four to eight years he or she is in office. If the right person is voted into the presidency though, the advantages of the job will outweigh the downfalls. Besides being the most powerful person in the world, the president and his or her family, is granted a sweet set of perks to go along with the position. Most employers give their hires a salary, healthcare, a 401k and maybe one or two weeks of vacation, but the president’s perquisites put a regular benefit package to shame. The US government makes sure the president is well compensated, protected and pampered, for the length of their term and into the future. Read on to find out the most luxurious perks that the president and their family get to enjoy.
10) Cooking Staff Available Every Hour of Every Day
Although the first family has a kitchen in their living quarters, it’s rarely used because they also have access to a full cooking staff to serve them meals at every hour of the day. With a little bit of notice, the first family can request any dish they’d like, and one of the five full-time personal chefs will find the ingredients and whisk it into reality. The kitchen is always stocked with the basics, though, so if President Obama is craving a midnight snack of something like pizza or brownies, all he has to do is request it. The first family technically has to pay for all of their food themselves, but they have several expense accounts they can pull money from, before digging into the president’s own pocket.
9) On-grounds Vegetable Garden and Beehives
The president doesn’t have to consume a lot of frozen food, because the chefs get as much of it as possible from the White House garden. The garden was established in 2009, by Michelle Obama, who is known for her advocacy of living healthily. The garden fruits and vegetables are used for the first family’s private meals, state dinners and donations for the hungry. Michelle Obama might be seen working in the garden for photo ops, but we can bet there’s a full time staff of gardeners to care for the plants. Not to mention, the garden also has beehives to provide the White House with fresh honey.
8) Cellar of Vintage Wine
In the early 19th century, Thomas Jefferson spent $10,000 stocking up on wine, some of which is still in the White House wine cellar today. This extremely-vintage and historically compelling collection is available to the first family today, if they ever need a nice red to end the night. Don’t look for something from the Italian countryside, though. President Jimmy Carter decreed that all wines served in the White House must be American.
7) A Personal Florist
The entire White House, including the first family’s personal living quarters, is adorned with bouquets of fresh flowers every day, which requires a full time staff of florists. The chief floral designer works directly with the first lady to decide what arrangements are the best fit for every occasion. Then, he or she gets to work, finding the highest-quality flowers to hand arrange into bouquets, wreaths or garlands, which cost $250,000 per year. You certainly won’t find any silk flowers at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
6) The Cadillac One
Nicknamed “The Beast,” the car that takes the first family anywhere they need to go is more than just your run-of-the-mill limousine. The Cadillac is coated in five-inch thick armor and has puncture-proof tires. Mrs. Obama certainly can’t put her shopping bags in the trunk, because that’s where the fire fighting system, oxygen tank and blood bank stocked with the President’s blood type is stored. The limo can also launch tear gas and smoke grenades if they’re ever in a pinch. Besides the astounding security features, the first family can recline in cushioned, leather seats and utilize a fold-out table for drinking, snacking, or as a desk. Not anyone can chauffeur the president around, either. A secret service agent has to be specially trained and capable of doing a J turn to earn the honor of driving the first family.
5) Air Force One
The president’s two personal jets have all the security features of the Cadillac One and more, but what’s even more impressive are the accommodations they have for the passengers. The style that the first family flies in, puts first class on United Air to shame. The jet has an office, conference room, bathroom, gym and bedroom, all filled with luxurious furniture and soft lighting. The massive aircraft costs $210,877 per hour to fly according to the Air Force, none of which comes out the president’s own pocket, of course.
4) Salary and Expense Funds
The president earns an annual salary of $400,000, and with so many of his expenses being paid for with taxes, he has a whole lot of dough leftover for whatever he pleases. The president is also entitled to several accounts for expenses, such as $100,000 a year for travel expenses, $19,000 for entertaining, $50,000 for “general” expenses and last but not least, $1,000,000 for “unanticipated” expenses.
3) A Cushy Retirement
After leaving the office, the former president and their family doesn’t go back to a hum-drum life of being upper middle class. The president receives an annual pension equal to the current salary of a cabinet member, which in 2014 is $201,700. The first family also receives a lifetime of secret service protection and $96,000 annually to hire a staff of their choosing (in case they can’t go back to not having a personal chef and florist). They also get free office space and an allowance for travel expenses. Finally, when a former president passes away, all funeral arrangements and expenses are taken care of.
2) Camp David
If the first family needs a break from the hustle and bustle of D.C., they can head to their own mountain resort. Camp David in Maryland is a government owned country retreat that every president, since Franklin Roosevelt, has taken full advantage of. The president takes the 70 mile trip from the White House to Camp David in a personal helicopter. Once there, they enjoy a private and secure wooded home complete with a spa, swimming pool, bowling alley, skeet shooting range, tennis courts, golf course, horse stables and ice skating rink.
1) The White House
Camp David is nice for a quiet retreat, but the first family doesn’t need to go there to enjoy an array of luxurious amenities and fun activities. The White House is more than an office and living space for the first family. Without leaving home, they can enjoy a Friday night at the bowling alley, movie theater or putting green; or de-stress at the swimming pool or jogging track. A full housekeeping staff takes care of cleaning and laundry, and we already know about the personal chefs and florists. The first family also has full use of the spaces outside of their personal living quarters. President Gerald Ford’s daughter, Susan, for example, hosted her senior prom in the White House ballroom. We bet no one was able to sneak in a flask that night!