Why pensions for
by PAT MURPHY
Washington opens its purse to individuals, businesses or non-profit
institutions looking for financial help, they first must pass Washington
"means tests" — qualifying for help based on economic need.
Congress has applied no such rigid tests to one of the least needy groups
on the dole — former presidents of the United States who automatically
collect pensions and perks upon leaving office.
ex-president — Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W.
Bush and Bill Clinton — is a millionaire several times over, and in
utterly no need of the pension Congress created in 1958 to help
ex-President Harry Truman, who was so strapped he moved into his
pension paid to Truman has ballooned into the annual stipend of $166,700
(and adjusted upward periodically), plus more than $500,000 each for staff
and an office, as well as free health care and other perks. (Costs of
Secret Service protection are separate and amounts to millions of dollars
members of Congress as well as presidential historians such as Richard
Norton Smith believe it’s time to question the need for the pensions
while keeping the office and staff allowances in place.
Clinton signed a $12 million contract for his memoirs and speaking
engagements at $100,000 a pop, and his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, signed
an $8.5 million contract for a book — and other ex-presidents were
raking in their millions in speeches and books and investments — it was
obvious that former chief executives were failing the "means
test" required of others receiving government payments.
living ex-presidents have other pensions from former public posts — as
members of Congress, as governors or, as in the case of Bush the Elder, as
CIA chief and a diplomat as well as vice president and member of Congress.
multi-millionaire ex-presidents who’ve proclaimed their concern for tax
burdens on Americans should be the first to recommend changing the pension
to accommodate for colleagues in genuine need and not provide pocket
change for rich ex-chief executives?
Cuba has always been a cheap political straw man in American politics.
alone as the western hemisphere’s outcast, able to mount only a pitiable
military force and led by a garrulous pipsqueak tyrant, Cuba has never
been a threat to any nation.
embracing the bloodthirsty mainland China regime as a favored nation and
trading partner, the United States has isolated Cuba for 40 years and kept
up the sizzling rhetoric about Cuba’s abuse of human rights, abuses that
are less egregious than many U.S. allies, including China.
pressure has failed to dethrone Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, but provides
this benefit – it keeps South Florida’s hysterical Cuban-Americans
pacified and secure as a Republican voting bloc.
Now a new
the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think-tank that supplies
appointees for the Bush administration, Under Secretary of State John
Bolton says Cuba is fiddling with weapons of mass destruction, and
therefore, in his words, "those that do not (renounce terror and
weapons of mass destruction) can expect to become our targets."
offered no proof of Cuban weaponry and didn’t mention specific military
action against Cuba.
words may have several purposes.
words benefit presidential brother Jeb Bush’s re-election this year as
Florida governor among Cuban-Americans.
Bolton may’ve hoped to quash creeping sentiments in Congress — led by
Arizona Republican congressman Jeff Flake — to lift sanctions against
Cuba to allow trade.
the Bush administration may need a pushover military target easier than
Iraq in its "war on terror" and is prodding Americans to think
about war 90 miles off the Florida coast.