Patt Morrison For March 7, 2012

Should taxpayers subsidize wealthy ex-presidents?

San Francisco Giants v Texas Rangers, Game 4

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Former President of the United States, George W. Bush, and his father Former President George H.W. Bush wave to the crowd before the Texas Rangers host the San Francisco Giants in Game Four of the 2010 MLB World Series on Oct. 31, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.

Former presidents make millions from book deals and speaking engagements and most in the modern era are, well, rich. So should taxpayers continue to foot the bill for expenses like staff, office space and travel?

A few lawmakers say no. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa) want to revise the half-century-old Presidential Allowance Modernization Act, so a former president who makes over $600,000, would not receive any taxpayer money for expenses beyond their $200,000 pension. Last year, taxpayers paid $1.3 million for former president George W. Bush and $517,000 for Carter, including their pensions.


The act was originally enacted to “maintain the dignity” of the office, but in this day and age is that a serious concern?


Rep. Jason Altmire, (D-Pa), a sponsor of the bill

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, (R-Utah), one of the bill’s sponsors

Michael Genovese, professor, Political Science and Chair of the Institute for Leadership Studies, Loyola Marymount University

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