Yesterday, I saw on the news the nice little story about President H.W. Bush shaving his head in support of one of his secret service member’s children who is battling leukemia. I diverged off from the cute little story when I had a conversation with my sister this morning and she was quite upset to think that President H.W. Bush has that many secret service people protecting him. I told her I thought there seemed like a lot but I didn’t actually get a good look at the picture as I was working in my studio and mostly listening to the news. I decided it was worth a second look and I am flabbergasted at the sheer number of able-bodied men it seems to take to protect merely one of our ex-presidents. The story is here: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/07/24/19662020-bush-41-shaves-head-in-support-of-2-year-old-cancer-patient?lite
Now, maybe this doesn’t bother you but from my perspective, it seems like there weren’t any cuts made in protecting our dear ex-presidents when all those cuts were made this spring to the rest of the country. I know there are many people unemployed so I think that maybe a job in the Secret Service would be good place to look for work. Here is the link in case you are so inclined. http://www.secretservice.gov/faq.shtml#faq8
I did some research because I wanted to know what it costs to take care of our ex-presidents. Interestingly enough, I could only find the cost for their homes, office, and so forth but not the cost for Secret Service as I think it’s a secret! Now, the cost for running their homes and so forth is also quite large. In fact large enough that most of us would be happy with a onetime payment of that lottery prize. I am providing a link here but the expense for 2012 was $3.7 million. Interestingly enough, there was an act back in 1997 that would have ended secret service for all future ex-presidents after ten years. http://www.usatoday.com/story/theoval/2013/03/26/obama-bush-clinton-carter-congressional-research-service/2020323/
This would mean that President Clinton would have been the last to receive this service for his lifetime. However, contrary to what we have been made to believe about Congress and the President not getting along, they actually do pass some legislation. In January of this year, as I loosely quote Wikipedia, President Obama signed legislation reinstating lifetime Secret protection for himself, President George W. Bush, and all subsequent presidents. Maybe this seems fine to everyone else but I question a government that can spend so much on those at the top of the government food chain and so little on those at the bottom. They, meaning Congress, politicians, and the right wing media have us little people worrying about the person next door getting food stamps, SNAP if you will. As you will see from this chart, the average SNAP benefit is $133.41. I have been to the grocery store lately and by my calculations that doesn’t go too far!
We can all get into a battle about protecting our ex-presidents but my concern is the number of secret service needed to do that job. There have been major cuts to programs for everything from defense to education. Everyone at the bottom seems to have to give up something, so why don’t those at the top?