Ex-presidents have huge expense accounts
Taxpayers are picking up the tab for millions of dollars in expenses racked up by the 4 living ex-presidents -- all of whom are multimillionaires.
Here's a great retirement perk if you can get it -- the unlimited expense accounts of former U.S. presidents, all of whom would be doing very nicely without this taxpayer-funded help.
In fiscal year 2010-11, the four living ex-presidents had a combined $3.8 million in taxpayer-paid expenses, including these particulars reported by Jonathan Karl of ABC News:
- $579,000 in office rent for Bill Clinton (who has an estimated net worth of $38 million).
- $80,000 in phone bills for George W. Bush (net worth of $20 million).
- $15,000 in postage for Jimmy Carter (net worth a relatively modest $7 million).
Total expenses paid for by taxpayers that year:
- Bush the Younger, just over $1.3 million.
- Clinton, nearly $1.1 million.
- Bush the Elder, $830,000 (whose net worth, by the way, is reportedly about $23 million).
- Carter, $518,000.
It's also been widely reported that George W. Bush made $15 million from speeches that year and Clinton was paid $10 million to speak. (Post continues below.)Aside from that, taxpayers are also footing the bill for staffing and upkeep at presidential libraries, which are built with private funds, says John Stossel in a commentary for ABC News.
My, how things have changed since Harry Truman left office; his only government payment was a $112-a-month Army pension. Because Truman struggled, a law was enacted in 1958 to give former presidents a $25,000-a-year pension plus $50,000 for office expenses. Since then, it's gotten out of hand, don't you think?
U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, introduced a bill that would pay ex-presidents an annual pension of $200,000 -- about what they get now -- plus a $200,000 allowance. However, explains the Los Angeles Times:
Under the legislation, the $200,000 annual allowance would be reduced dollar for dollar if a former president makes more than $400,000 in outside income. If a former president makes $600,000 or more in outside income, the ex-president would receive the $200,000 pension but no public allowance.
The legislation would give a former president's surviving spouse a $100,000 annual allowance, up from the current $20,000.
Future increases would be tied to the Social Security cost of living bump. Their Secret Service protection, which the Daily Mail says costs $20 million a year -- is not included in these costs and would not be affected.
"There's little reason why American taxpayers should be subsidizing these former presidents when they're doing fine on their own," Chaffetz said in a press release. "This legislation modernizes an old law and saves the taxpayer millions of dollars in the process."
Could the ex-prezes make do on limited expenses without digging into their personal accounts? After all, the Daily Mail also says:
In 2009, Clinton's 8,300-square-foot Harlem office cost taxpayers $516,000. Carter's 4,200-square-foot office in Atlanta cost $102,000. George H.W. Bush's 4,600-square-foot Houston (office) cost $175,000, CBS News reported.One commenter at NJ.com, the online presence of The Star-Ledger, thought the former presidents deserve better than what the proposed law provides:
A more rational approach would be to provide their pension plus capped allocations for security, office rental, transportation detail, and misc expenses not to exceed a maximum amount of say $1,000,000 per year. There is something wrong with our nation if we're unwilling to provide that level of support.
On the other hand, a commenter at NPR station WBUR said:
No one is going to pay for MY "after retirement job" office when I retire. If the "next job" can't pay its own bills, time to get a different "next job."
Could this be a spending bill that people from both sides of the aisle could agree upon?
More on MSN Money:
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Add then the retirements paid to our Congress and Congressional staff. Also add the retirements of the entire D.C. bunch.
If the total government retirement bill does not shock and sicken you, you are probably in on the bloated retirements.
C'mon now, these guys used public money to get elected, used public money while in office and are still using public money to apease their egos and lifestyles. A pension,yes, othere expenses NO, I put 12 years in US Navy and still cant get a pension fron VA, I have been waiting over a year for a decision,WHY?
They do deserve our support and thanks,but our money,NO WAY!!!!!!!
I don't know about you but this pisses me off to no end!!! These @$$hats are all independently wealthly yet they keep sticking it to the tax payers long after they are gone. Why do you think we are in the situation we are? These guys live on a different planet and have no idea about being fiscally responsible; talk about milking it for all its worth, which if something doesn't change, won't be squat before long. And its not just the former POTUS, it is all elected members of the US government. We suffer and still pick up their tab. No more of this! I think it is time to end this crap. No more expenses, no more lifetime medical care, no more raises (for most who already have money) while the country continues to go down the toliet. All elected official (President, Senators, Congress, ect.) need a wage freeze until we get the economy and country back on track and a start getting out of debt, and no sooner. Then all this lifetime free health care, expenses, ect no more. They can have it while in office (healthcare anyways but tight and limited on expenses; ie no private jets) but once out (this tied to term limits to further ensure no lifetime benny's) they can have a basic plan just like the rest of us do and small limited pension ($500-$1000 a month), unless they are over a certain networth and/or have other investments that put them over a certain amount of income as a whole then they don't get $hit. Start bringing these clowns (both parties) back down to Earth /reality and maybe we will see some changes finally.
I think it is very selfish and stupid to the american people, for us to take care of the filthy RICH exes, Why in the Hell get it together and quit paying for the most money on the things and people, that don't even need it, I live on disability, I get $44. in food stamps. I get sick when I see and hear about these rich s-n of b-----s. that rob our ways and money, and our LIVES!!!!
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