Obama Is Now the Most Costly Former President

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Posted: Sep 01, 2017 9:30 AM
Obama Is Now the Most Costly Former President

After his pension, an office space, and other perks, former President Obama is costing taxpayers the most to support out of all the ex-presidents. 

Next year, the American people will be footing his bill to the tune of $1,153,000, according to a Congressional Research Service memo. This figure is more than $100,000 higher than President George W. Bush’s request and roughly $200,000 more than President Clinton’s. Former President George H.W. Bush will receive $942,000 and President Carter will bring in $456,000.

Every former president gets an office, expenses and, in some cases, an annual pension payment, thanks to a 1950s-era law enacted after former President Truman struggled for income when he left the White House in 1953.

While most ex-presidents since Truman have found ways to make their life beyond the Oval Office financially rewarding, the taxpayer-funded perks have remained — and Mr. Obama is the latest to take them. (The Washington Times)

The biggest expense for former presidents is the cost of rent for their office spaces—especially for Obama and Clinton since their offices are in Washington, D.C. and New York City, respectively. Obama’s will cost $536,000 next year, while Clinton’s is $518,000. Bush 41’s office in Houston costs $286,000 and Bush 43’s in Dallas is $497,000. Carter’s Atlanta office is only $115,000.

Obama also has the most expensive pension.

Mr. Obama’s pension payment is also the highest, at $236,000. Mr. Clinton is second with $231,000, followed by the younger Mr. Bush at $225,000, the CRS memo says, citing figures from the General Services Administration, which administers the 1958 Former Presidents Act.

Mr. Bush’s communications budget is higher than any of the others, at $69,000. By contrast, Mr. Obama is slated to get just $11,000. Mr. Bush will also get more money for printing and supplies than the others

Mr. Carter’s figure is so low because he only served a single term in office, his only time as a federal employee, meaning he didn’t put in the five years needed to get health benefits.

But Mr. Carter gets another benefit. Because of an arrangement he struck to turn his home over to the National Park Service when he dies, taxpayers do upkeep on his house in Plains, Georgia, The Washington Times reported in 2011. In 2010, that cost came to $67,841, and included sweeping his tennis court twice a day, clearing branches from the estate’s walking trails, and cleaning the pool. 

None of these figures account for the cost of lifelong Secret Service protection for the former presidents and their spouse. This information is not public, but estimates put it at tens of millions of dollars, the Times reports.