The government spent more than $1.3 million on former President George W. Bush in 2012, the highest amount spent on any ex-president. According to an analysis released by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, the government spent nearly $3.7 million on former presidents in 2012, an amount that is about $200,000 less than what was spent in 2011. The money pays for a pension, compensation, benefits for office staffers and other costs.
The Former Presidents Act gives old Oval Office inhabitants a $200,000 annual pension and $96,000 a year for a small office staff. Taxpayers also foot the bill for things like travel, office space and postage. The large amount spent on Bush seems a little objectionable considering how much former presidents are able to make for books and speaking engagements.
The more recently a president has left office, the more financial help he receives, which is one reason Bush’s costs were so high. Bush was granted almost $400,000 for 8,000 square feet of office space in Dallas, $85,000 for telephone costs and $60,000 in travel costs, according to The Washington Post.
Bill Clinton came in second in spending at just less than $1 million. George H.W. Bush was next at nearly $850,000. Costs for Jimmy Carter were just $500,000. None of these totals include what the Secret Service spends protecting former presidents, their spouses and children. Those costs are part of a budget that is not made public.
The widows of ex-presidents receive a pension of $20,000. Nancy Reagan, the wife of former president Ronald Reagan, waived her pension last year. However, she did accept $14,000 for postage.