Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Perks Of Being An Ex-President

As an ex-president, Bush gets only a slightly better deal than ex-Australian prime ministers. Still, when tens of millions of Americans will find themselves amongst the New Poor, Bush will be soaking up more almost $200,000 a year in cash, and another few hundred grand in "expenses" as he focuses on building a $300 million monument to his presidency :
George W. Bush's "after-life," as Laura Bush calls the post-presidency, is shaping up to be pretty comfortable, with a Dallas office, staffers, Secret Service protection, a travel budget, medical coverage and a $196,700 annual pension, all at taxpayers' expense.

The Bushes will move to their new $2 million , 8,500-square-foot Dallas home — not paid for by taxpayers — on Jan. 20 , and there Bush will be close to his future presidential library at Southern Methodist University .

"We're working on a conceptual design for the building," said Mark Langdale , president of the George W. Bush Foundation .

The president will help develop the $300 million structure, which will include a library, museum and policy institute.

Fundraising is just beginning, Langdale said. Construction will be paid for with private funds, and Bush is expected to be involved in organizing the fundraising drive.

Bush made a lot of his old friends in the US War Industry richer than they've ever been before, so presumably they will cough up the delayed kickbacks to fund most of the library's construction. Then again, if Bush is actually pursued very publicly for war crimes, he may find 'donors' for his library projects few and far between.

Secret Service protection will only last for ten years.

Bush will maintain an office nearby in space acquired by the General Services Administration, which, under the Former Presidents Act, will pay for the office suite and staff to assist him for the rest of his life.

The GSA also covers travel expenses for any official activities attended by a former president, as well as two staff members.
Taxpayers footed the $50,000 travel bills of Bill Clinton and George W.'s dad in 2008.

And then there's the state funeral, with full military honours.