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Former Presidents Cost Taxpayers $3.7 Million Last Year

Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W.H. Bush, Barbara Bush and George W. Bush attend the Points of Light Institute Tribute to Former President George H.W. Bush. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)

As taxpayers, we pay for pensions and office expenses for former Presidents Carter, Bush, Clinton and Bush. The bill was $3.7 million last year.

The expenses start with a pension of about $200,000 per year. Then come the office expenses, Bill Clinton rents 8,300-square-feet near the Apollo Theater in Harlem for $450,000 and George W. Bush spent $400,000 on his 8,000 square foot office in Dallas.

Perhaps someone should tell Mr. Bush about Vonage as his telephone bill for the year was $85,000 and he spent an addition $60,000 on travel. He topped the expense list for last year at $1.3 million.

Clinton came in second at just under $1 million last year, followed by President George H.W. Bush at nearly $850,000. Costs for Carter, the only other living former president, came in at about $500,000.

The cost totals for ex-presidents don’t include what the Secret Service spends protecting them, their spouses and children. Those costs are part of a separate budget that isn’t made public.

The Former Presidents Act passed in 1958 as a response to Harry Truman’s financial problems.

Some people are arguing that since our current batch of living former Presidents are all well-off and make huge money for speaking fees and publishing deals we should save a little money by cutting their allowances. I believe that the office President is one of the most under-paid jobs in America and we should be willing to provide them with some perks after retirement, or maybe just provide free rooms at the Old Former Presidents Retirement Home.

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