Apparently Harry Truman couldn’t pay his bills after leaving the presidency, and so started the presidential gravy train that affords former presidents their very own form of welfare. That’s right, not only do American taxpayers fund pensions and the cost of secret service protection for former presidents, they also foot the bill for all sorts of expenses to the tune of millions of dollars per year!
You’re not surprised though, are you? After all, this is the apparent payoff for being a corporate whore during years in office. These former presidents are little more than the “kept women” of large corporations, who are never more than a degree or two of separation from the from American politics.
Don’t get how the corporations do it? They fund the campaigns of the politicians who are in Congress and those who eventually become president. These funds and corporate lobbies directly affect legislation that controls how EVERYTHING in the country is run, and the policies domestically and internationally. And, the cherry on top of the corporate and presidential welfare sundae is that the entities that receive the funds get to decide who pays for it all–and of course it’s the American taxpayer!
It’s a little-noticed part of the federal budget: Each year U.S. taxpayers pick up the tab for the expenses of our former Presidents. For the likes of Carter, Clinton and Bush that means free rent, postage, phone and office staff — all courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer.
In 2010, taxpayer-financed expenses included $15,000 for Jimmy Carter’s postage, $579,000 for Bill Clinton’s rent and a whopping $830,000 for George W. Bush’s phone bill. It adds up: All told, U.S. taxpayers were on the hook for more than $3 million of expenses for the four surviving former U.S. presidents.
They certainly don’t seem to need the money. These days being a former U.S. President is a lucrative business. After all, Bill Clinton raked in more than $10 million just in speaking fees last year. George W. Bush made even more: $15 million just for giving speeches.
This entitlement for the very rich was put in place when at least one former president wasn’t rich. Congress created this presidential entitlement in 1958 because Harry Truman couldn’t afford to pay his bills.
Now that former presidents have plenty of cash, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, is leading a bipartisan effort to end the gravy train, cutting off taxpayer-paid expenses for any ex-president making more than $400,000 a year. His bill recommends limiting presidents to a $200,000 annual pension and $200,000 in annual expenses, unless their personal income surpasses that.
Source: Yahoo! News
It’s great that at least some members of Congress want to decrease presidential welfare, but why should the taxpayers be paying ANY part of the living expenses and frivolous expenditures of former presidents? Even still, the $400K suggested cap on the subsidy is also ridiculous. How many Americans make anywhere near that?!? They’ve got plenty of money, and if they don’t, tough luck! After all, the earning potential of former presidents is many times that of the average citizen. They can make tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars just by giving a few speeches.
What’s most appalling is that each of these presidents advocated more stringent controls over social welfare programs that help people who actually needed it. Of course, Republican presidents were notorious for these types of cutbacks, but even Bill Clinton backed welfare reform. This program is yet another way that the rich elite continue to have the poor and those who can afford it the least to foot their bills.
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