The White House apparently employs people to do things and pays them for their work:
The Weekly Standard‘s Daniel Halper, who yesterday broke the story of a government leader reminding his employees to obey the law, unearths another scandal: the White House employs calligraphers. And pays them money!
Chief White House Calligrapher Gets Paid $96,725 Per Year
With the White House closing its doors to public tour groups in order to save money for the sequester, it’s worth remembering some of the other costs the White House incurs annually.
Like the “Chief Calligrapher,” Patricia A. Blair, who has an annual salary of $96,725, and her two deputies, Debra S. Brown, who gets paid $85,953 per year, and Richard T. Muffler, who gets paid $94,372 every year.
Yes, it sounds a little silly that we’re paying people good money to do fancy handwriting while threatening to furlough people doing real jobs. But the White House is, after all, home to the head of state of the most powerful nation on earth. It hosts state dinners and engages in all manner of ceremonial functions. It’s not shocking that a whopping three people are employed doing calligraphy.
Two quick things- while James does a good job of providing the appropriate level of scorn for the moron trying to make something out of this, I resent the implication that a calligrapher is not a “real job.” It’s a highly specialized skill set, people obviously see value in it (you have been to a wedding or funeral or similar event, haven’t you, folks), and they provide a service people covet. It’s as real a job as any other job out there, and they actually make things and, unlike wall street hacks and right wing congressmen, they’ve never destroyed the economy and brought the nation to its knees or invaded a foreign country for no good reason. I’d much rather hire an army of calligraphers and artists to make pretty things across America over dumping pallets of unmarked bills on Iraq.
Second, one thing James does miss is something that drives me crazy every time I read one of the jackasses at Reason or any other random right wing site posting salaries of fireman, policemen, teachers, etc., and acting like it is some princely sum- “OMG THIS FIREMAN/COP/TEACHER MAKES 60k IN LA AND WE HAS DEFICITS.” These are then the VERY SAME people who literally freak the fuck out if you try to raise taxes 2% on the wealthiest Americans, and scream that 400k a year is middle class. Which is it? If 400k is middle class, how is 60k an outrageous sum for pulling your ass out of a burning building, educating your kid, or policing your neighborhood? If 400k truly is a middle class income, then I know a hell of a lot of k-12 teachers who need their salaries increased tenfold.