Last year, U.S. taxpayers paid $470,000 in pensions and benefits to former president Jimmy Carter, who left office in 1981.
George H.W. Bush received $837,000. He left office in 1989.
Bill Clinton received $950,000 in pensions and benefits, and George W. Bush got $1.3 million.
In all, U.S. taxpayers paid $3.5 million last year in pensions and benefits to the four living former presidents.
All four former presidents are millionaires, so why do they continue to receive such astronomical benefits – at the expense of taxpayers (many of whom are struggling to survive)?
The reason is a federal law called the Former Presidents Act, which was passed in 1958. It provides lifetime benefits to former presidents, which includes a pension, staff and office expenses, medical care or health insurance, and Secret Service protection.
Now that law may change – to the benefit of taxpayers.
Yesterday, the House Oversight panel backed a measure to limit taxpayer dollars for expenses, including travel, incurred by ex-presidents who earn more than $400,000 a year.
The measure, passed by a voice vote, would set presidential pensions at $200,000 a year, with another $200,000 set aside for office space and other expenses, the Associated Press reported. The bill would then reduce expense payments by $1 for every dollar above $400,000 earned by a former president. If an ex-president earned more than $600,000 a year, they would not receive federal funds for office expenses or travel. Their “widow or widower” would see an increase in their monetary allowance from $20,000 per annum to $100,000.
Just last week, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign team released Federal Election Commission financial disclosures showing the Clintons had earned $30 million in speaking fees and book royalties – just in the last 16 months.
Since leaving the White House in 2001, Clinton has been paid at least $127 million in speaking fees, while also earning huge book advances and consulting fees. Many of the corporations and countries that paid him had an interest in influencing U.S. foreign policy while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.
Hey, remember when Hillary Clinton claimed that she and Bill were “dead broke” and “struggled” to “piece together resources” last year?
George W. Bush has done equally well in his speaking engagements:
The Daily Beast reported he earned $250,000 for a recent keynote address on US foreign policy in Las Vegas for hundreds of Republican Jewish Coalition donors. The AP reported Bush “has earned at least $15 million for more than 140 paid speeches since he left office in 2009.”
Despite the timing, Chairman of the House Oversight panel, and co-sponsor of the bill, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said the bill wasn’t aimed at anyone in particular, but was simply a matter of fairness.
“History shows that former presidents do very well financially after they leave office,” Chaffetz said in a statement before Tuesday’s vote. “In fact all former presidents are millionaires, making it unlikely that they depend upon their taxpayer-funded allowance to make ends meet.”
Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis) called the bill “a very good bill, a very necessary bill, given what we’ve seen going on here.” He said it was important to reduce federal payments to former presidents as the income of those “trading on their office” increased.
“Hopefully it will restore some dignity to the office of ex-president,” Grothman said.
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Contributed by Lily Dane of The Daily Sheeple.
Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple. Her goal is to help people to “Wake the Flock Up!”