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There has been one position in the United States government that has worked tirelessly to promote the needs related to early childhood development, HIV/AIDS awareness, Women’s Health & Wellness, LGBT rights, fighting obesity, supporting military families, ending homelessness among our veterans, addressing domestic and international literacy issues, securing health care for children across America, advocating women’s rights, slowly killing gender inequality, increasing adoption resources and foster care services, and ending violence against women.
This position and the five individuals that have held this office just in the past 25 years haven’t been paid a dime for any of their hard work for our country. What position is this, you ask? That would be the First Lady of the United States of America. No matter the political party, or the budget issues facing the federal government, these women have taken charge to change the lives of people all across our country and the world. They have smiled and stayed committed to the position and their missions while their husbands received $400,000 dollars a year for doing equal yet different work for our nation.
The argument thrown around is that the American people elected the President and not their partner in marriage, which could be a valid argument if we didn’t expect the First Lady (maybe one day the first man) to be a role model to all Americans and the world. It could be a weak point of consideration if we didn’t have years of annual expectations, day in and out placed on them and their schedules. It could even be possible to try to excuse the lack of real recognition if we didn’t pay our other lawmakers, who fail to even keep our government open, nearly three times the average pay of teachers in America.
I am not the only person to ever make a mention of the hard work unpaid by our government. President Ronald Reagan had something to say about this matter back in 1982. Republican President Ronald Reagan stated, “You know, with the first lady the government gets an employee free; they have her just about as busy as they have me.” If you are one of the very polarized Americans that can’t stand anything the other party has to say, Democratic President Barack Obama had a few words to say about this issue as well. “Michelle would point out first ladies get paid nothing. So there’s clearly not equal pay in the White House when it comes to her and me.” So both parties' President’s had said something about this, yet still, nothing has happened. Speeches about progress and fairness mean nothing until the highest office of our land begins to change the tone and more importantly acts on the issue.
The point of this piece is simple; First Ladies Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, Michelle Obama, and Melania Trump have all done or are doing the hard work of keeping this country moving forward to a better place for all us. They have all managed to fight against everyday gender bias and media scorn about what they wear to achieve the unthinkable on countless issues. It is very similar to the countless Millions of American women that work hard every day in their jobs making only 79 cents of every dollar a man makes doing the same job, putting in the same amount of work.
I think it is painfully clear that our Congress won’t do anything meaningful to tackle this issue, but the President can do something today. The United States government could do something rather simple to promote the worth of women all across this country. This President and every President moving forward should require that they only get half of their annual pay. That would total $200,000 dollars a year, a still very healthy sum of money. The other half would go to fund the salary of the women in the office of the First Lady (Man) of the United States. This would finally put an end to free labor in the White House. This simple solution that serves a symbolic purpose soon becomes an impactful reality for every American business to take into consideration when reviewing their workforce. Finally, because everything has to be political nowadays, it doesn’t add a dime to the budget, so we shouldn’t hear complaints from one side of the aisle, and it promotes equal pay for equal work, which is supported by the other side without much issue. Isn’t amazing when we all just get along?