Presidential History

President Mitch Daniels Opts for Merit Pay


mitch daniels

That could have been the headline in an alternate universe where outgoing Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels sought and won the Republican presidential nomination.

Instead, the "motorcycle-riding, Reason-subscribingObamaCare-trashing,Postrel-and-Hayek-reading governor" with a tumultuous love life is bringing a private sector sensibility to his new gig as the president of Purdue University.

The Wall Street Journal explains:

Under the terms of the contract, Mr. Daniels will earn base pay of $420,000. That's near the $421,000 average for presidents of public universities, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education analysis, and down from the $555,000 earned by Purdue's previous president. Mr. Daniels could then make up to 30% in bonuses tied to hard outcome metrics like graduation rates, student affordability, faculty hiring and achievement, and philanthropic support. Even if Mr. Daniels met 100% of his targets, he'd still rank 10th in compensation among the Big Ten presidents.

Daniels left Indiana with a $500 million budget surplus and $2 billion in reserves, so (since we're already in a alternate universe) why not take a minute to indulge in a scenario where POTUS—or better yet, congressional—pay was tied to stuff like passing balanced budgets, keeping campaign promises, and/or transparency.