The following is a weekly 60 Minutes commentary by CBS News correspondent.
I was thinking that we're seeing more of our ex-presidents than we used to. There are four of them and they're all over the place.
Gerald Ford is 92, Jimmy Carter, 81, George Bush also 81 and Bill Clinton is 59.
Being an ex-president of The United States must be a pretty
good life…a lot better than being a present President.
An ex-president gets a nice yearly salary of more than $180,000 and that's just the beginning because he doesn't have to pay for anything.
For instance, a former President gets $96,000 to pay an office staff. He gets government-paid travel. His phone bill is paid, as are postage and office supplies. And then, in addition to all that, someone always builds a library with the ex-president's name on it. That's what I'd like - a library with librarians to go through all the junk I've saved.
Last year, Bill Clinton, who was never rich before he left the White House, made $850,000 in speaking fees. Then he wrote a book that made him another $10 million.
Jerry Ford was the best athlete we ever had in the White House, an All American football player at Michigan. Now he plays golf every day. The government probably pays for his caddies.
Former Presidents don't always get along but George Bush and Bill Clinton have gotten to be friends. It's really nice. They actually seem to like each other.
Some historians say Jimmy Carter is the best ex-president we ever had. I notice he spent $15,000 on stamps last year. He must answer a lot of mail. At 37 cents each, $15,000 would pay for 40,500 letters.
Jimmy won the Nobel Peace Prize and I don't think anyone dislikes Jimmy Carter.
Bill Clinton is by far our most expansive and expensive ex president. He had a $460,000 house rental bill paid for him and a $54,000 telephone bill last year. He must spend a lot of time gassing on the phone. Another expense he had is listed simply as "Other services: $146,000."
George Bush had the most travel expenses. The government paid $54,000 for his air fares last year. He probably doesn't fly coach.
Our President right now is having a tough time, no doubt about it. Things are not going too good for him. He keeps having to leave town and he still has three years to go. I'll bet President Bush can't wait until he gets to be a former president.
By Andy Rooney
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