It wasn’t until 1958 that a former President of the US was considered entitled to an annual pension package. The purpose was to honor their service if they had no means of income. And while there have been a few instances where a former president did not have personal wealth, since the granting of a pension, most presidents didn’t ‘need’ the taxpayer funds which are given for life. Today, that would mean supporting FIVE presidents who have served terms of office ranging from four years to eight years. In other words a FULL lifetime salary and benefits is afforded to a man who spent four years – working…
How much does that amount to?
The Presidential salary is currently pegged at $203,700 (although Obama is asking for a hefty increase before he leaves office). The First Lady gets another $20,000 annually. They get an additional $150,000 to cover the cost of ‘staff and office’ for 2 ½ years which is then downsized to a mere $96,000 for the remainder of their life. They get free Secret Service protection for all family members, and a ‘transition allowance’ to move out of the White House – which apparently has no dollar limit. But these payments seem to be more of a guide than an absolute as Mr. Bill received over $450,000 in 2014 for his ‘office space’ alone, and over a million in total benefits. Bush is no different, Carter, they all ravenously reap $$$$ for their paltry service. Poor Babies…
Of course the insanity of this is that we are subsidizing an individual a million plus dollars a year so that they can reap a private annual income of over $1.5 to $50 million – not including Secret Service detail which could easily double the value of their benefit and our out-of-pocket cost.
While some within the pundit media like to claim that the total amount is not large enough to be relevant to the entire Federal budget, there is this ancient concept called, ‘Principle’, wherein a person has integrity. The entire ‘entitlement’ is like a Ponzi scam. In the real world, anyone who is even in the small, small pool of a corporate pension package knows that the benefit is based on a sliding scale of time employed. Given a lifetime employment of 45 years, 8 years represents roughly a sixth of the sum total which means a person could be eligible for 1/6 of his/her annual salary. In Presidential terms that would amount to about $34,000 per year. End of story!
If a President has outside sources of income exceeding say $250,000 they should be ineligible for anything! We have forgotten that the duty and responsibility of being President is to ‘serve the people’, not ‘benefit from the people’. It is supposed to be a job of humility and giving, instead it has become a gentleman’s club of how to defraud the people to make $$$$$.
The cost of Secret Service protection is another very non-transparent expense. The total annual budget of the Secret Service is $2.2 billion per year, but also includes protection for foreign visitors, albeit a very small portion of the kitty. They are also tasked with investigating a small portion of the forgeries and fraud within the government, as well as providing detail for certain candidates during the election year. Again a small portion of their overall time and expense.
But with the Secret Service mired in scandals and partying and sexcapades, it would appear their budget is a joke not unlike most of the government’s. As a result, they have expanded their base of agents… so they can raise their budget by another 16%…so they can have bigger parties… If that isn’t enough, black agents have filed two class action lawsuits against the agency claiming racial discrimination. (I wonder if that’s why they needed a budget increase – to pay off the claimant lawsuits?) At any rate, the dollar value of the class action lawsuits has not been disclosed (as in more transparency). While their claim may be completely and totally justified, it merely heightens the atmosphere of a corrupted government NOT representing The People – and instead highlights the fact that taxpayers are now required to pay for government agencies inability to act with honor and integrity. Maybe they need ‘corruption insurance’… It also highlights the fact that the corruption comes from the top of the ladder given it was not properly dealt with despite numerous notifications.
That being said, personally, I don’t see why we as taxpayers are shelling out $5-$10 million per year for former Presidents (Democrat and Republican) who are privately making $50-$60 million…paying for their office space, travel, staff, etc…? Why?
Seems rather absurd.