As the world ponders the merits and effectiveness of a $800 Billion bailout plan, and investors large and small wonder if a Great Depression 2.0 is on its way, it seems timely to discuss how much money our living former presidents are making. I don't mean making like how regular citizens make money, but making from the United States government. That means from taxpayers.
Their retirement allotment comes to $191,000 a year. But they are also entitled to much, much more in the form of payments for a wide array of services. Things like postage, office supplies, travel, office rent, etc. Which doesn't really sound that nefarious on the surface. Until, that is, you see what those presidential telephones are costing us.
George Bush, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton spent $904,000 on telephone service, and $7 million on rent. During that time, Bill Clinton received the lion share in those categories, asking for $420,000 for telephone and $3.2 million for office rent.
In all, the price tag since 2001 for the three living presidents is $17.5 million dollars. Jimmy Carter cost $4 million, George Bush cost $5.5 million, and Bill Clinton cost $8 million. This, despite the fact that all are millionaires.
So as politicians and citizens alike ponder the Main Street vs. Wall Street debate, and wonder why the government is giving hundreds of billions of dollars to huge banks, perhaps we could also discuss why we're giving our ex-presidents such a substantial bail out of their own.