Given the news Barack Obama is following in the footsteps of the Clintons and monetizing his post-presidency life through speeches, it’s amusing to note that he’d be giving a third of that $400,000 check to Donald Trump’s government. He’d be paying at least a little more than he would’ve otherwise paid thanks to his own policies, as he raised the top tax bracket from 35 percent to 39.6 percent — but that’s not all.
While the man didn’t act in his personal best interest when it came to raising taxes, last year he did veto a bill that would’ve gotten the pensions of former presidents if they earned income of $400,000 or greater in their post-presidential life. Obama vetoed the bill. In light of Obama reaching that threshold with a single speech, according to USA Today:
[T]he sponsors of that bill say they’ll reintroduce that bill in hopes that President Trump will sign it.
“The Obama hypocrisy on this issue is revealing,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and sponsor of the 2016 bill. “His veto was very self-serving.”
Chaffetz and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, the sponsor of the companion Senate bill, say they will re-introduce the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act this month. The bill would cap presidential pensions at $200,000, with another $200,000 for expenses. But those payments would be reduced dollar-for-dollar once their outside income exceeds $400,000.
The issue isn’t a partisan one — or at least, it wasn’t last year. The bill passed both the House and Senate with no opposition, and no veto threat had come from the White House.
Trump, of course, would sign the bill into law. He isn’t even taking a presidential salary, and the presidential pension would amount to a fraction of a fraction of pennies on the dollar relative to what he brings in, anyway. If it sounds ridiculous to extend the presidential pension to billions, then it’s ridiculous to extend it to multi-millionaires.
The $400,000 paycheck from a single speech (which will be to a Wall Street bank in September) is merely in addition to Obama’s other sources of income. Among the major sources will be selling the rights to the books written by Barack and Michelle Obama, which have currently been bid up to over $60 million.
In absence of any action, Obama’s pension will pay him $207,800 this year (about half his presidential salary), and he’s also receiving seven months of transition services. To give an example of how expensive such services can be, they totaled $800,000 for George W. Bush, and $200,000 for Jimmy Carter (about $630,000 in 2017 dollars).
Seems like former presidents will do just fine without the presidential pension.
[Note: This post was written by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]