Ex-presidents living large on the taxpayer’s dime

Presidents of the United States do quite well for themselves once they leave office. So well, especially in recent years, that some in Congress have tried to curb the amount of taxpayer money handed out to ex-presidents. A bill even passed in 2016 that would have applied modest curbs on ex-presidents’ expenses. Barack Obama vetoed it:

[It was] one of only 12 vetoes during his presidency. His own financial stake in the matter drew little comment at the time.

In his message accompanying the veto, he said he agreed with the “goal” of reforming payments to ex-presidents, but claimed this bill would “impose onerous and unreasonable burdens on the offices of former Presidents.”

The bill’s sponsors, including Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, promise to bring the measure back. And with good reason: it’s mighty nice to be a former president…

The modern ex-presidential gold rush got under way in earnest, in the view of many, after Ronald Reagan left office in 1989 and soon commanded a reported $2 million for two speeches in Japan, on top of $7 million for his memoirs.

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