Providing funding for former presidents is–for the most part–a relic of the past since modern ex-presidents can effortlessly earn a comfortable living after leaving the Oval Office.
However, a new report by the Congressional Research Service reveals that former President Obama is set to become the most costly ex-president in American history, requesting $1,153,000 annually from the American taxpayers, according to The Washington Times.
Each year, all ex-presidents are asked to submit a budget request detailing their expected expenditures for the following fiscal year. The funding is available to provide ex-presidents office space, while also covering other expenses and presidential pension plans. However, the funding does not include Secret Service protection, which is available to all ex-presidents for life.
According to the Congressional Research Service, former President Obama has requested $1,153,000 to get him through the 2018 fiscal year. Obama’s request was over $100,000 more than former President George W. Bush, and about $200,000 more than former President Bill Clinton. George H. W. Bush has requested $942,000, while Jimmy Carter only asked for $456,000.
The majority of funding for ex-presidents is directed towards renting office space. Obama is renting the most opulent office of any ex-president and is asking taxpayers to provide him $536,000 to cover his 8,198 sq. ft. office in the heart of Washington DC. Bill Clinton’s larger New York office costs taxpayers slightly less at $518,000. George Bush Jr. and Sr. both rent office space in Texas, costing tax payers $497,000 and $286,000, respectively. Jimmy Carter, again, is the most frugal ex-president; his Atlanta office will cost $115,000 in 2018.
The second largest budget item is presidential pensions. Barack Obama is again costing the most and will receive a $236,000 pension. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush are not far behind.
The law offering ex-presidents government funding was enacted in the 1950s after President Harry Truman struggled to pay his bills upon leaving the White House in 1953. However, the 1950-era policy appears outdated for a modern America, where former presidents regularly receive high paying positions after leaving the White House.
Book deals and public speaking arrangements offer former presidents almost endless opportunities to earn a living. For example, Celebrity Net Worth claims that Bill Clinton currently enjoys a net worth of $80 million. Bill Clinton has made most of his fortune as a highly paid public speaker. Clinton’s average speaking fee is $200,000, and he has earned over $100 million in public speaking since leaving the White House.
Bill Clinton was the previous record holder for most lucrative book advance of all time. However, Barack Obama recently usurped Clinton as the book advance record holder and is expected to receive over $60 million for his upcoming memoir, according to Business Insider.
Additionally, public funding for office space appears outdated. The office space provided to former presidents cannot be used for politicking. To circumvent this concern, Barack Obama has purchased a $5.3 million mansion in Washington DC that serves as the headquarters for the “insurgency” against President Trump, according to The Daily Mail. Clearly, he does not need public support for office space.
Considering the obscene wealth available to modern ex-presidents, perhaps it is time to rethink post-presidential perks. Why should taxpayers be footing the bill for the lifestyles of the rich and famous?