This tidbit came from an article by Gregg Easterbrook, who writes a weekly column for ESPN.com. Find the article in its entirety here: NFL draft as inexact as breaking down tenths of seconds
Stop subsidizing rich former presidents: Last year, TMQ complained that although former chief executives George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton are wealthy, both continue to take large amounts of presidential retirement benefits and other sweetheart payments -- money forcibly removed from the pockets of taxpayers who are struggling to get by. Reader Zach Stanley of Boston points out this Politico story indicating the situation is worse than my 2007 item suggested. Clinton, whose recently released tax forms show he has made more than $10 million per year since leaving office, nevertheless has already claimed $8 million in retirement benefits (and he's not retired), plus $3.2 million for office overhead, plus $420,000 for his phone bill. The later figure is difficult to take seriously; even if you yakked 24/7 on a satellite line to Tajikistan, it's hard to believe you could ring up $420,000 in telephone charges. Is some of this money really going to staffers for Clinton's speechmaking business? In public the very wealthy Clinton wags his finger about how the rich are shafting the average guy. He himself is shafting the average guy by claiming lavish tax subsidies.
All this is doubly vexing because the payments are made under the Former Presidents Act of 1958. That bill was enacted when news broke that former president Harry Truman was living on little more than his Army pension: As a matter of principle, Truman refused to give paid speeches, make endorsements or serve on corporate boards, because he believed such actions demeaned the dignity of the presidency. Phrases like "the dignity of the presidency" and "as a matter of principle" don't seem to have much meaning anymore in politics. But the whole point of the Former Presidents Act was to enable previous White House occupants to live comfortably without having to sell their names. Now Clinton is selling his name like mad, while George H. W. Bush, who was born into wealth, demands subsidies too. Thank goodness the dignified Truman did not live to see this selfish spectacle of ex-presidential money-grubbing.
I'm sure that if Americans knew that this was happening, there would be more outrage...instead, politicians (in this case our former presidents), continue to abuse their power without the public knowing. SAD.