June Smith

If Obama is reelected, he keeps the most powerful job in the world for another four years.

If he loses, he joins the elite company of the living ex-presidents raking in money faster than their accountants can divert it.

The return on the rigors of getting elected and serving four years, or maybe eight, as the CEO of the US makes it an excellent investment, despite the obvious signs of early aging.

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Payments for offices, administrative services, travel, etc., flow freely to the four living ex-POTUSs—Carter, Bush the Elder, W, and Clinton—from the public coffers.

And it’s all legal, as are all things made by lawmakers. It came to be back in 1958 when Harry Truman left office nearly broke, refused to cash in on his time in office, and had to take out a bank loan to cover out-of-pocket costs to keep up with the requests and demands for speaking engagements.

Thanks to the government, taxpayers began picking up the tab and never stopped paying.

That was more than a half century ago. Today, these guys have all cashed in on their “public service”, all four are millionaires receiving nearly $200,000 yearly pensions.

In a recent story in the UK’s Daily Mail, Michael Zennie reported on the taxpayer-funded perks of being an ex-president.

“Taxpayers are shelling out nearly $4 million a year to pay the expenses of the country’s four living ex-presidents, all of whom are millionaires thanks to lucrative book deals and speaking fees,” wrote Zennie.

He listed the net worth of ex-presidents Carter, GHWB, Clinton and W.  “Carter is worth an estimated $7 million. George H.W. Bush has about $23 million. Clinton is worth about $38 million, and George W. Bush has a net worth of $20 million.”

Zennie included last year’s living fab four’s expenses. GHWB topped the list: 1.3 million; followed closely by Clinton at $1.1 million; W placed third: $830,000; and Carter came in last: $518,000.  

Here are some of the lowlights on how taxpayer money was spent: $83,000 for W’s phone bill; $580,000 for Bill’s office in Harlem (plus an additional $751,000 submitted for ‘other expenses’ from 2001-2008); $175,000 for W’s daddy’s Houston office; and $15,000 for Jimmy’s postage.

And, lest we forget, Zennie added that “The bodyguard fees [24/7 secret service protection for life, thanks to Congress’s 1965 Public Law 89-186] cost taxpayers about $20 million each year.”

There’s some boowah, bushwah, and blah blah in DC about a bill to cut back on the amount of expenses paid annually. According to Zennie, “The bill would put a $200,000 cap on expenses paid to former presidents. If the president earns more than $400,000 in outside income in a year, that allowance would drop.”

Should the bill pass, I suppose the taxpayers will have to fund The Federal Department of The Counting House to keep track of those expenses.

Let’s just “Sing a song of sixpence, a pocket full of rye” until the G10, grade one federal employee making $45,771 plus health and insurance benefits, vacation, sick leave, and mandated holidays, is sitting in the DC Counting House, counting expenses up to $200,000 while the ex-presidents are in their costly offices, “eating bread and honey”—if they aren’t giving a speech or dictating another book to a ghostwriter.

The G10, grade one pay rate, was chosen randomly by me, from the 2011 Federal Base General Schedule Pay Scale that included with this tidbit:  All U.S. locations (including Hawaii and Alaska) receive additional pay adjustments above the base pay ranging from 14.16% to 35.15%. Riddle me that one, fellow taxpayers.

So, it’s a win-win for Obama, either way.

Not so for us.

June Smith is the widow WBAL talk show host and Sun columnist, Ron Smith, who posthumously received an Emmy® for his lifetime achievement in television and radio at WBAL in Baltimore, MD. Smith was a media titan in the central Maryland area and beyond for almost forty years. Mrs. Smith’s tribute website honoring his legacy is  She is working diligently to raise one million dollars for the Ron Smith Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund at Johns Hopkins. Her email is

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