The Buzz: Presidential Perks

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If you didn’t catch Monday’s edition of Your World with Neil Cavuto, here’s what you missed:

Former President Bill Clinton received a thunderous welcome from a thousand people chanting "We want Bill!" as he opened his new Harlem high-rise offices Monday morning.

But not everyone is excited about Clinton’s choice of office space.

Critics note that the lease on Clinton's office comes to about $354,000, the most expensive office ever established for a former president.

John Berthoud, president of the National Taxpayers Union, balked at the idea of the public picking up Clinton’s rent.

"There is no excuse for taxpayers making $25,000 a year to pay the taxes to guys making millions of dollars a year," said Berthoud.

But Ellen Ratner, White House correspondent for Talk Radio News and a Fox News analyst, defended the practice, noting that paying for former presidents’ offices is an American tradition and provides Clinton with the same "sense of dignity that Nixon was given… even if it costs us a little bit more money comparatively."

Here’s what you had to say about the issue:

Why the fuss over paying for Clinton's office space?  Why isn't anyone complaining about paying for Ronald Reagan's office?  Surely, he isn't using it!
Apopka, FL

No, we should not pay his for his office.  He makes hundreds of thousands for speaking fees and is not a government official anymore.  What a waste! 

Ms. Ratner's comments regarding Clinton turning down work "probably because he thinks it's inappropriate" because he was a President....give me a break! This guy wasn't concerned with what was inappropriate when he WAS President.
Paul R.
Washington, MI

I'm aware that this is something that we do for our ex-presidents, however, isn't it time we phase out these ridiculous perks?  We're basically funding their business ventures (ie) speeches.  It is absurd!  Like your show Neil.   Wish I understood it!
Nashville, TN

Please advise Ellen Ratner that the words "Clinton" and "Appropriate" don't go together as she describe his new office digs!
Terry M.

Presidential offices should be limited to available space in existing federal buildings , and limited to a conservative fixed annual amount for staff etc., the altenative being a private presidential office at a presidential library built from private donations with a limited  fixed budget [annual] for staff etc.
Gene K.

I do not feel American taxpayers should be responsible for payment of office space for former Presidents. They receive a substantial pension, as well as opportunities to earn momey with writing memoirs,speaking, consulting,and so on. They are well able to earn enough to pay for office space for their business activities. I do agree that taxpayer dollars could go to staff   former Presidential libraries. The libraries are archival and of much historical value to the American public.
Mary M.
Pensacola, FL

As long as we permit former presidents to work as lobbyists, serve on corporate boards and make millions of dollars more with book deals and lecturing, it should not be necessary to provide them with either office space or lifelong pensions.
These people aren't monarchs no matter how much some would like to think they are.
Michael J. U.
Chesterfield, MO

Even if Clinton had chosen $1 MILLION space in Carnegie Tower (it was actually only $630K) it would still amount to ONE PENNY PER YEAR from each of our pockets (assuming 100 million taxpayers) The combined rents and pensions come to less than A NICKEL per year, per taxpayer!
Steve K.
Flourtown, PA

It is not fair for Bill Clinton to take tax payers money to pay his office rent.  It is amazing how much money he has made in speeches since he left office.  He clearly should realize this and offer to pay his own rent, but in considering his number of past indiscretions, this sadly enough, is probably not in his thoughts and/or plans.     
Amy L.
Charleston, SC

Considering the amount of waste in the government, fretting over the 350-Grand for President Clinton's office, reminds me of the merchant who worries over pennies as dollars fly out the door.
Jim F.
Albuquerque, NM

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