By Adam Andrzejewski, via Open The Books Substack
This week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), announced his retirement effective January 2025. By then, he will have turned 85 years old and served in the federal government for 59 years. Our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com crunched Fauci’s cash pension payout as of his anticipated retirement date.
Today, Fauci earns a federal salary of $480,654 per year. However, by 2024, Fauci will likely be making $530,000 in salary – an increase of nearly $200,000 since 2014.
Therefore, we estimate that Fauci’s first year pension payout will exceed $414,000 – more than the salary for the President of the United States ($400,000).
END OF CAREER SALARY SPIKING
In 2021, in my then-column at Forbes, we first reported that Fauci was the most highly compensated federal employee making $417,608 (2019, last available salary) and then earned $434,312 in 2020. For both years, Fauci was the top-paid federal employee, out earning “the president, four star generals, and roughly 4.3 million of his colleagues."
Fauci’s salary then increased to $456,028 (2021) and he makes $480,654 today. We estimate he’ll make $504,686 (2023) and then $529,921 (2024).
So, in December 2021 (published at Forbes), we estimated that Fauci’s pension would exceed $355,000 per year—the most lucrative in federal history. However, Fauci didn’t retire and now the numbers are a lot larger.
CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS
Bureaucrats who have worked in government as long as Fauci are able to retire on the vast majority of their annual earnings. The Office of Personnel Management calculates it by taking 80% of an average of the bureaucrat's three highest-paid years of service, and also letting the worker cash in any unused sick leave. Employees of Fauci’s tenure also get an additional 2% annuity payment every year.
Using that formula, by 2025, we projected Fauci's retirement package would be in excess of $414,000 per year -- plus annual cost-of-living-increases.
To project what Dr. Fauci's retirement will be by the end of his career, we have to fill in a couple of blanks. We don't know what his salary will be in 2024, but we can make a strong estimate based on the pace of his recent salary increases.
Given that his salary grew 5% from 2020 to 2021, and 5.4% from 2021 to 2022, we can conservatively presume continued bumps of at least 5%.
Under that model, his estimated retirement at the end of 2022 would be worth $365,598 plus his 2% annuity payment of $9,613. That’s an estimated grand total of $375,211 per year.
If he presses on through the end of 2023, the estimated grand total swells to $394,457.
As President Biden’s first term comes to a wrap just after the end of the 2024 fiscal year, Fauci’s retirement makes it past the Oval Office milestone. He would stand to retire with a $414,667 annual payout.
We called his post-2021 retirement package an unprecedented golden parachute. Now it's even bigger. Taxpayers, of course, helped fund the Fauci retirement pension and we guarantee it too.
GOING DEEPER INTO FAUCI’S COMPENSATION
How does Fauci outearn everyone at the federal level?
After all, he heads up a relatively small subagency of the National Institutes of Health -- itself just one agency within the Department of Health and Human Services.
Fauci's massive pay increase actually dated back to the George W. Bush administration. We unearthed a 2004 memo outlining a "permanent pay adjustment" for his biodefense work. Think of it as a permanent bonus.
So, Fauci made more than his boss – NIH Director Francis Collins ($203,500); he outearned Collin's boss, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra ($203,500); and his pay drafted President Joseph R. Biden’s pay too ($400,000).
Likening his job to wartime, Fauci told ABC News' Jonathan Karl this of potential retirement:
"You know, we're in a war, Jon. It's kind of like we're halfway through World War II, and you decide, well, I think I've had enough of this. I'm walking away… You can't do that. You've got to finish it -- and we're going to finish this and get back to normal."
So, the doctor is still in. Until 2025.
AND SO IT IS...
...Just as we reported last year, Anthony Fauci will make federal government history with the largest-ever retirement package. The only difference is by 2024, he's set up to earn even more – in retirement pension – than our president makes in salary.
And Fauci can do it resting comfortably in his backyard.