Corporate greed, or top-secret-special meritocracy?

has uncovered a somewhat astounding little figure:

, the director of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), earns $800,348 a year—almost twice as much as US President Barack Obama (

$400,000, with a $50K cushion for "expenses"). The proof is

, on one of the federal government's "transparency pages" aimed at helping hungry reporters track down how stimulus money (of which LANL has received over $200 million in government contracts) is spent.

At $800,000, Anastasio is no Lloyd Blankfein (CEO of Goldman Sachs; $42.9 million last year), no Rex Tillerson (Exxon Mobil; $32 million)—but his salary is nothing to be sniffed at, either. Los Alamos gets its money straight from the US Department of Energy, whose budgets are funded by...well, you and me (provided we pay our taxes).

In a press release today, Nuclear Watch pointed out other problems: that LANL's business--national security--doesn't exactly stimulate New Mexico's economy. Case in point (from the Nuclear Watch release):

According to Census Bureau data, in 2007 Los Alamos County had the 4th highest median household income ($101,098), while New Mexico was the 45th state in median household income ($41,509) with the 3rd highest poverty rate. Politicians and the Department of Energy constantly remind New Mexicans that the nuclear weapons industry is vital to the state's economy. Despite that, historically New Mexico has slipped to 47th in per capita income in 2007 from 37th in 1959. In contrast, Bechtel has experienced record setting revenues for each of the last six years ($31.4 billion in 2008).

Another fun news tidbit surfaced today: Apparently, the federal government's claims of "jobs saved" by federal stimulus money

. It even starts to sound like the government is inflating its numbers until a Health and Human Services Department staffer fires back at the

with this gem:

"If I give you a raise, it is going to save a portion of your job," HHS spokesman Luis Rosero said.

Right, so...then you have two jobs, at least for government accounting purposes?

I digress. The point is, if the government's claiming more jobs than actually exist, one might wonder whether certain government contractors are doing the same.

Postscript: Jay Coghlan of Nuclear Watch informs me that Tom Hunter, the director of Sandia Lab, makes an even prettier penny: $1.7 million.