Jean-Paul Sartre theorized hell is other people, which this election has certainly proved true, but a new report suggests the truest incarnation of hell has already revealed itself to a small group of men and women tasked with keeping people like Donald Trump alive—they’re not even getting paid for all of it.
Like many people who have done business with the orange troll, BuzzFeed reports that some members of the long-troubled Secret Service will not be paid in full for guarding Trump—or, for that matter, President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and most of the candidates’ respective family members other than Tiffany Trump.
Except, incredibly, this time it’s not Trump’s fault that the people around him aren’t getting paid for their work. A federal salary cap has prevented some agents from collecting their full overtime pay, and it’s been going on for months, BuzzFeed reports. Which means that the agents are earning at max $160,300 a year to potentially take a bullet for Donald fuckin’ Trump.
When overtime payments drive an agent’s aggregate income for the year past the federal limit of $160,300 — no matter how early — the agent no longer earns paid overtime, even as they regularly clock in long past the 50-hour work week, traveling around the clock with the candidates, their families, the Obamas, the Bidens, and the press.
According to USA Today, about 1,000 agents—or a third of the force—have already maxed out their annual salaries. Some hit the limit as early as June, meaning they essentially worked the conventions and the campaign trail for free this summer.
“Agents are tapped out,” Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, tells USA Today. “There has been so much activity related to the presidential campaign, they (agents) are now working and not getting paid for it. Congress cannot just stand on the sidelines and complain; we have to step in and do something.”
And he’s right—it’s been a problem for a long time! But either way, it’s an incredible lesson for Trump, who usually waits for his employees to complete the job before he refuses to pay them for their work.