Taxpayers wondering what Jack Lew did to earn millions of dollars at a bailed-out bank now have something else to wonder about. Turns out that before President Obama's nominee for Treasury secretary worked at taxpayer-backed Citigroup, he also commanded a surprisingly large salary at tax-exempt New York University.
Prior to joining Citigroup in 2006, Mr. Lew served as NYU's executive vice president for operations. According to a 2004 report in NYU's student newspaper, Washington Square News, Mr. Lew was paid $840,339 during the 2002-2003 academic year. If this sounds like a remarkably high level of compensation for an employee of a non-profit educational institution, that's because it is. The paper reported that Mr. Lew earned more than almost all of the country's university presidents that year, including his own boss at NYU, John Sexton.
Now why would Mr. Lew have been paid more than the head of the university? NYU hasn't responded to our inquiry yet, but we're told that Mr. Sexton is passionate about education and could care less whether he's the highest paid guy on campus. So what does that say about Mr. Lew?
Regardless, Mr. Lew's ability to earn an extremely high income without venturing into the real economy may explain why he's so enamored of taxpayer-supported ventures, and government in general.