, WASHINGTON, Apr 19 – US President Barack Obama and his wife earned $1.7 million last year, a significant drop from the prior year as sales of the president\’s books slowed, according to tax documents released on Monday.
The president and Michelle Obama reported 2010 adjusted gross income of $1,728,096, down from $5.5 million in 2009.
While the salary for US president is $395,000 annually, "the vast majority of the family\’s income is the proceeds from the sale of the president\’s books," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.
Obama earned $1.38 million in 2010 from sales of his books, "The Audacity of Hope," "Dreams From My Father," and "Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters." That\’s down from nearly $5.2 million in books\’ revenue from 2009.
"Of Thee I Sing" is a children\’s book released last year, and Obama has pledged to donate after-tax proceeds to the Fisher House scholarship fund for children of fallen and disabled US military personnel.
The Obamas reported $2.6 million in adjusted gross income for 2008.
Obama and his Democratic allies are currently engaged in a debate with Republicans, who control the US House of Representatives, about raising tax rates on the wealthiest Americans.
Obama has reiterated he is willing to pay a higher rate – as an example for other wealthy taxpayers at a time when the US government has a huge budget deficit.
In 2010, Obama and his wife paid more than $500,000 in state and federal taxes. They filed a federal tax form, as well as a state tax return to Illinois, where they own a home.
The White House said that the Obamas contributed $245,000 – or 14 percent of their income – to 36 different charities in 2010.
The largest reported gift to a charity was $131,000 to the Fisher House Foundation that supports families of US military personnel.
US federal tax returns give filers an opportunity to check a box to contribute $3 to public funding of presidential campaigns. The Obamas checked off their respective boxes, as they did in 2009 and 2008. In the 2008 election, Obama rejected public funding, which sets limits on spending.
Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill, who is a teacher, saw their income increase in 2010, with an adjusted gross of $379,000. That\’s up from $333,000 in 2009 and $270,000 in 2008.
The Bidens paid more than $110,000 in federal and state taxes and gave $5,350 to charity – or 1.4 percent of their income.
The median annual income of US households was $50,221 in 2009, according to the latest official figures.
Follow us on TWITTER @CapitalFM_Kenya