Should Incoming First Lady Michelle Obama Get Paid? No.

She should get a job.

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By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

Should the first lady get paid?

In a word, no. She should continue whatever she was doing as a career woman before her husband was elected president and derive money from her own career, just as every other married, working woman does in America.

Nonetheless the question is making the rounds in the media, most recently on, reposted on

Given that Michelle Obama is obliged to give up her career because of inevitable conflicts were she to be a salaried employee in any organization outside the White House, this is an important question now and going forward, when we can assume that future first ladies also will be women of professional achievement.

I don't agree with the "inevitable conflicts" presupposition. Michelle Obama chose to give up her hospital administration job. There's no obvious conflict of interest between her most recent position and that of her husband. There are plenty of jobs, not interfacing with government contractors or lobbyists, that first ladies can perform without running into conflicts of interest.

Are we going to be arguing over this for the next four, or eight, years? I hope not.