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:
I say a $200,000 pension is it. Next voted in President will get a 403B plan that they have opportunity to invest in for 4 to 8 years depending on how well they do.....don't worry the voters will let them know.
They do not need an extra $200K for expenses or an allowance....that is complete stupidity.
They wanted to become President, they took the steps....not our fault they started to feel entitled....they wanted and took the job, we are just setting the salary and 403plans.
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.
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