President Obama is paid $400,000 a year to jet around the globe, shake hands, sign legislation, and sprout several new gray hairs. His wife, who will fly to Maryland today for a clinic for war veterans before hosting a poetry event at the White House, doesn't collect a wage at all. But she should, writes Gregory Krieg at Policy.Mic. In fact, "the president should request an income for Michelle Obama and all future first spouses in the next White House budget ... because it would send a powerful signal that equal pay is an important principle at the highest level of government," Krieg writes.
Not only would such a move "set a standard for young people," it would show that "the work done either raising a child or children in 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. or keeping a busy public schedule like Michelle Obama's (or, as with Obama, doing both), is worthy of legitimate compensation," Krieg says. If President Obama—who mentioned his wife's lack of salary when discussing the Paycheck Fairness Act this week—comes up against Republican opposition, Krieg says he need only read this 1982 quote from Nancy Reagan: "You know, the government, with the first lady, gets an employee free." Click for his full piece, or read a case for why the role of first lady should be eliminated. (Read more first lady stories.)