Last year, U.S. taxpayers paid $3.5 million in pensions and benefits to the four living former presidents, including $1.3 million for George W. Bush and $950,000 for Bill Clinton – even though both men make millions in their retirement from speaking engagements and other sources. And this doesn't even include the money spent for the Secret Service protection these men also receive.
I know this is small change relative to America's overall budget, but come on! It's a slap in the face to hard-working average Americans who struggle to make ends meet. I'd like to think our government thinks more of the contributions we make than to use them to feather the beds of multi-millionaires who are more than capable of getting by on their own.
Fortunately, a House committee last week backed a measure that would reduce this gross misappropriation of funds significantly. If it passes, former presidents would still receive their regular pension. But additional expenses would be capped at $200,000 above and beyond that.
We owe our past leaders respect and economic security in their retirement. But we don't owe them a king's ransom. The title, “Former President” is pretty lucrative these days, and I'm fairly sure they can make it without our help.