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TRANSITION LEADS TO PRESIDENTAL PENSION PAYOUT RECORD

NTU Senior Counselor and pension expert David Keating observed, "while we don't want our former Presidents or Congressmen to retire in poverty, that's no reason to put them in the lap of luxury."

According to federal pension rules, Al Gore's service as a Representative, Senator, and Vice President (presiding officer of the Senate) would all count towards a Congressional pension, which NTU estimates will begin at $94,800. Assuming he lives to the age predicted by actuarial tables, Gore could accumulate an inflation-compensated lifetime retirement benefit (along with a "spousal annuity" for Tipper Gore) that totals $5.96 million.

Meanwhile, Bill Clinton will draw a Presidential pension that will start at $161,200 per year, and would add up to $7.29 million over his lifetime, should he live to the age of 82.0 years. He could also be eligible for an Arkansas Governor's pension of roughly $18,000 when he reaches age 55. In addition, former Presidents receive staff, travel, mail, and office expense reimbursements that ranged from $308,000 to $548,000 apiece for FY 1999 alone. Secret Service protection costs are not reported.

But there are more pension millionaires in the making. A single term for George W. Bush could bring an immediate estimated yearly pension of $184,900, and a lifetime windfall of $6.6 million, if he reaches the actuarial life expectancy for a man of his age.

"Because of the lavish retirement perk, Congress and the White House have opened pension millionaire clubs on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue," Keating concluded. "While the average taxpayer retires with a fixed income, former lawmakers and Presidents can retire with fat payoffs that consume more tax dollars every year."

Congressional pensions are typically two to three times more generous than those in the private sector and even more generous than pensions for most federal workers. Plus, the Congressional benefit is protected from inflation with Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs), a feature that fewer than 1 in 10 private plans offer. All former Presidents receive a pension for life, linked to the current salary of Cabinet Members (which often rises). Rules permit ex-Presidents to receive additional pensions for previous Congressional or other lower-level government service simultaneously.

NTU is a non-profit, nonpartisan citizen organization founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, less wasteful spending, and accountable government at all levels. Additional analysis, and a chart that compares estimated lifetime presidential benefits, is available at http://www.ntu.org/issues/perks/P01PresPensions.html


National Taxpayers Union is America's oldest and largest taxpayers' rights group. NTU has worked for lower taxes, less wasteful spending, and accountable government at all levels for 31 years. Visit http://www.ntu.org. You can support NTU by becoming a member at https://secure.lexi.net/ntu/donations.html.