Right up until Gerry Ford, American presidents routinely refused any kind of directorships, paid lecture tours, or other opportunities to commercialize the office -- instead, they relied upon the generous presidential pension, currently at $200k/year plus a staff and expenses.
(This is the pension that Hillary Clinton says left her and Bill "not only dead broke, but in debt" when Bill Clinton left the White House in 2000.)
Before Ford, presidents made a big deal out of the necessity of staying out of the private sector. Here's Truman: "I could never lend myself to any transaction, however respectable, that would commercialize on the prestige and dignity of the office of the presidency,"
But Ford took a seat on Fox's board, got an honorary directorship from Citigroup, and started cashing in with high-paid lectures. Reagan went further, literally collecting millions for 20 minute speeches. GWB made $15m+ from 100 speeches between 2011-2015.
Bill and Hillary, meanwhile, have made $139m from their lectures ($35m from banks).
Congress appropriated $3.5 million for presidential pensions and other benefits in 2015.
Members of Congress in both parties are sponsoring legislation that would reduce ex-presidents’ pension payouts if they earn more than a predefined threshold in private sector earnings annually.
“Taxpayers should not have to pay for a former president’s allowance if the former president is making a comfortable living earning more than $400,000 a year after leaving office,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.about the bill. The bill passed the House in January.
One recent ex-president who didn’t cash out, of course, is Jimmy Carter. Perhaps not coincidentally, in a Quinnipiac University poll released this last November, a plurality of Americans said Carter has had the best post-presidency.
Taxpayers Give Big Pensions to Ex-Presidents, Precisely So They Don’t Have to Sell Out
[Zaid Jilani/The Intercept]
(Image: Ronald Reagan $Million Dollar$ Thanks a Million Novelty Bill)
Despite Trump’s denial of climate change the the ghastly attacks on climate science and mitigation in the new proposed budget, the Carbon Bubble — which overprices hydrocarbons and the industries that rely on them, as though we’ll be burning all of them with impunity — is about to pop.
My latest Publishers Weekly column announces the launch-date for my long-planned “Shut Up and Take My Money” ebook platform, which allows traditionally published authors to serve as retailers for their publishers, selling their ebooks direct to their fans and pocketing the 30% that Amazon would usually take, as well as the 25% the publisher gives […]
The Irish Pub Company offers Irish pub interiors in six styles: “Modern,” “Brewery,” “Shop,” “Country,” “Celtic” and “Victorian.” Choose your package and they’ll ship you a bar, as well as “flooring, decorative glass, mirrors, ceiling tiles, light fixtures, furniture, signage, and bric-a-brac.”
The Lightning port has thus far resisted the cruel fate that befell the headphone jack, and despite rumors that it may be disappearing come iPhone 8, for the present and foreseeable future, Lightning cables are a hot commodity for iPhone users. As such, we must make do in this strange time in which long, glorified […]
All the filters in the world won’t save your smartphone pics from a shaky hand. To really step up your mobile photography game, you’ll need some kind of mount to hold it steady. You could buy a smartphone attachment for a conventional camera tripod, but who wants to carry that kind of gear everywhere they […]
The forced transition from analog to digital TV signals was probably met with relative indifference from people with Netflix subscriptions and the “I don’t even own a TV” snoots. But anyone living in the vast swaths of the country that don’t have guaranteed high-speed internet, broadcast TV is a perfectly valid (and 100% free) way […]