GOP Lawmaker Wants to Clamp Down on Extravagant Payments to Former Presidents

Remember the story from a couple of weeks ago about the amount of tax payer dollars being shelled out to keep up former presidents in a certain lifestyle? Obama, alone, will be netting a bit over $1 million for upkeep, next year.


Well, earlier Tuesday, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst introduced a bill that would put a cap on the after-service bennies ex-presidents receive. Agreeing that they need security detail, Ernst balked at the idea that they need over a million in pensions and other costs.

Her bill would cap the annual pension payment at $200,000 per president, and would impose a cap on how much an ex-president’s office can cost. Initially the cap would be $500,000 a year, dropping over a decade to $250,000 per presidential office.

“The reality is that post-presidential life already provides fruitful opportunities on its own, with former presidents raking in tens of millions of dollars from book deals, speaking engagements, and more,” Ms. Ernst said.

She’s right.

For instance, how much does Bill Clinton get per speech?

What about book sales?

The point is, even in retirement, there are other options for revenue flow, so it’s not like we’re kicking our former leadership out in the cold with nothing but the rags on their backs.

I think they’ll be ok.

The Washington Times reported last month that Mr. Obama is poised to become the most expensive ex-president during his first full year out of office, in 2018. Between his $236,000 pension, his $536,000 office rent in Washington, D.C., and other expenses, Mr. Obama will cost taxpayers some $1,153,000, according to the Congressional Research Service.

His immediate predecessor, Mr. Bush, will get a $225,000 pension payment next year and his office in Dallas will cost $497,000, plus a higher communications and printing budget — bringing his total cost to just more than $1 million, the CRS said.


Not a bad haul.

Former President Jimmy Carter missed that particular gravy boat, getting less than $500,000. He doesn’t qualify for some of the benefits, having only served 4 years as a federal employee, where it requires 5 years to qualify.

I don’t think anybody wants to see former presidents selling reverse mortgages on late night TV to make ends meet. Let’s make any pension payouts reasonable, however.

This bill is a good start.


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