There are a lot of things that infuriate me about the Federal Government. Most of them are related to how they take (steal) hard-earned money from hard-working folks and waste it on inane and unnecessary expenditures like lavish benefits for government employees, including the President of the United States. Spending for these unauthorized items should be classified as fraud, waste and abuse of taxpayer funds.
Today I want to focus on presidential fraud, waste and abuse. Occupying the office of President of the United States has now turned into a huge opportunity to scam taxpayers out of money. The lavish benefits of the office bestowed upon current presidents were certainly never envisioned by our founders, and the royal treatment demanded by the Obamas is light-years away from the Spartan presidency of George Washington.
We really have moved from an era when presidents looked to serve the country, to a time when they not only seek to be served by the country but to be served in royal style for the rest of their lives. The question raised is why? Why do we put up with it? Do we owe these pampered princes a free ride for the rest of their lives? Do they deserve to be exalted to the status of American nobility, forever to be lavished with luxuries not afforded to those humble taxpayers footing the bill for their lifestyles of the rich and famous? I think not!
The phrase “All men are born equal,” although often misinterpreted nowadays by liberals, meant America would not subscribe to the European ideals of nobility. Every citizen was to be afforded the same rights and liberties as the President, without distinction. You and I don’t have the right to a perpetual free ride on the Luxury Express, and neither should our elected officials including the President of the United States.
I’d love to see a President elected who would choose to fly on a commercial airlines flight rather than always using costly Air Force One aircraft. I’d love to see a President personally pay for his friends, wife, children, and mother-in-law, if he chose to take them on trips with him, rather than soaking the taxpayers. I’d love to see a President that would approach Congress and petition them to eliminate the unnecessary and costly President’s pension fund and most other after-office, tax-funded expenses.
Congress put this pension in place in 1958 with the Former President’s Act and can just as easily abolish the law today. It is definitely no longer necessary today, not that it ever was. The last thing Presidents today need is more taxpayer-provided Presidential welfare.
Presidents today already make exorbitant amounts of money after retiring from office through speaking fees and book sales. According to Politico, Bill Clinton has made over $127 million in speaking fees alone since leaving office. The Salt Lake Tribune says that Clinton received an advance of $15 million for his memoirs, My Life. Clinton also taps in to this taxpayer-funded pension fund to the tune of $1.07 million annually.
George W. Bush spends $1.08 million tax dollars annually from this same fund, and he received $7 million for his book Decision Points. Bush has also received sizable speaking fees as well.
In January the House of Representatives approved Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s (R-UT) bill to slash the funds provided to former presidents. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) offered a mirror bill in the Senate. I support these bills to cut these funds but believe we need to go further. A country that is over $19 trillion in on-the-books debt cannot afford to keep these pampered princes in the lifestyle they currently enjoy.
However, rather than seeking to eliminate this frivolous spending, Obama’s 2017 budget proposes to increase the expenditures for former presidents by an additional 18%. Why is no one surprised?
Allen Tharp is President of the San Antonio Tea Party.
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