While Americans have been suffering for eight years during Obama’s two terms as president, he has been lining his own pockets and trying to maximize the money he can make as president for when he finally leaves the white House.
There were reports that in 2016 and for 2017 there were requests made in the federal budget of Obama that would see extra funding for the former Presidents Act. He wants a 18% increase in 2017, a rise of $588,000. This will mean that more than $3,865,000 would be spent on former presidents.
There is a further increase of $25,000 included in this year’s proposed budget.
The Former Presidents Act, enacted in 1958, provides living former presidents with a pension, office staff and support, funds for travel, Secret Service protection, and mailing privileges. It also provides benefits for presidential spouses. Currently, former presidents are awarded a pension equal to the salary of cabinet secretaries, which totaled $203,700 for the 2015 calendar year and was boosted by $2,000 for the current calendar year.
Critics of the act argue that it financially supports former presidents who are not struggling. Many of them, alternatively, have gone on to profit from writing books about their time in the White House or delivering paid speaking engagements.
Former President Bill Clinton, for example, earned $132 million for delivering paid speeches between February 2001 and March 2015, according to an analysis from CNN. Clinton received $924,000 in taxpayer dollars last year by way of the Former Presidents Act.
Republicans in the House and Senate have introduced legislation that would cap annual pensions for former presidents at $200,000. Additionally, the bills would cut each pension by a dollar for every dollar the former president earns over $400,000 in the private sector in a given year. The measure was approved by the House in January with bipartisan support.
“It’s pretty simple. You want a retirement and pension, it’s there. But if you’re going to go out and make enormous sums of money, then you don’t need taxpayer subsidies,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah), who introduced the bill in the House, told ABC News in an interview.
“The former presidents are making gobs of money speaking and writing books, more power to them, but that doesn’t mean they need more taxpayer dollars on top of that,” Chaffetz added. “It’s embarrassing that they take that money.”
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