It’s good to be president. The nation’s four former presidents get an annual pension of about $200,000, a stipend to hire staff at around $96,000, and other taxpayer-funded benefits that foot the bill for everything from travel to postage — for life.
Last year, America’s four living presidents cost taxpayers $3.7 million in 2012, the Congressional Research Service reported. That covered pension, pay and benefits for staff, and travel, office space and postage costs, The Mail Online reported. That doesn’t include the cost of Secret Service and other security protections for former presidents and family. And the $3.7 million is actually a savings: In 2011, taxpayers actually spent about $200,000 more than than, The Daily Mail reported.
George W. Bush had $1.3 million in costs alone, The Daily Mail reported. Bill Clinton was second, with just under $1 million. Then came George H.W. Bush, at $850,000. And last: Jimmy Carter, at around $500,000.
The payments are awarded under the 1958 Former Presidents Act, which gives payments so that ex-leaders might maintain the dignity of their White House stature upon leaving office. Some see the payment as wasteful, however, and argue that since presidents earn huge amounts for books, speaking gigs and the like, they should not be given taxpayer-funded pensions and benefits after exiting office.