NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Having been president of the U.S. means being famous, and fame means opportunities to make money. But on top of what they can wrangle through lucrative speeches and book deals, former occupants of the Oval Office enjoy generous government subsidies, totaling millions of dollars a year. Is it right for taxpayers to pick up the tab for our rich ex-presidents' travel, support staff, "mailing privileges" and more, when public assistance to impoverished citizens is being cut back?
Here's a look at contemporary post-presidential finances by some of the numbers. Expenses are from fiscal year 2012, when pensions and costs excluding Secret Service protection -- the budget for which is kept secret -- added up to nearly $3.7 million.
George W. Bush (#43)
Post-White House windfalls: $7 million advance for his memoir, Decision Points; about $15 million in speaking fees as of May 2011 ("a conservative estimate")
Spending leader in: telephone bills, $85,000