There is almost nothing worse in politics than the zinger that ends up as backfire. Barack Obama thought he’d scored a big point on Mitt Romney Tuesday night by attacking his wealth, and specifically his investments and pensions:
Ha ha! That’s great — Obama got to tell Romney that his pension isn’t as big as Romney’s, reminding everyone that Romney’s rich. Unfortunately for Obama, not only did Romney turn out to be right about Obama’s investments in China and the Caymans, for which Obama has hammered Romney for months, Obama has far more lucrative pensions than Romney does (via Carol Platt Liebau):
As president, he will receive $191,300 annually for life — win or lose in next month’s election — and receives a travel allotment as well as mailing privileges. Should Obama lose, his presidential pension kicks in immediately after leaving office.
Given that the president enjoys a normal life span, the pension allotment would be worth upwards of $6 million.
The federal budget spends about $3 million annually for the four living ex-presidents. Obama also will get Secret Service protection.
In addition, Obama may be due a nice pension for the eight years he served in the Illinois Legislature as a state senator.
Illinois is infamous for its lavish pension plan for former lawmakers. A Freedom of Information Act request for Obama’s pension amount submitted Wednesday to the General Assembly Retirement System of Illinois was not immediately answered, nor was a call to the Obama campaign.
But what about Romney? He must be getting some fat-cat pensions based on golden parachutes made out of the skin of workers sacrificed to the gods of Bain and Capitalism, right? Nope. In fact, Romney has no pensions at all, and only has the money he’s saved on his own (worth a considerable amount, of course):
His Individual Retirement Account could be worth in the neighborhood of $87 million, as documented in an extensive report from the Washington Post.
But as for a strictly public pension? Zip, zero.
Romney only served one term as governor of the Bay State and did not take a salary, so he is eligible for nothing.
So while Romney appears headed for a happier retirement financially, he’ll be footing his own bill — unless, of course, he wins next month. In that case, his nest egg will be even that much bigger than Obama’s.
You think that a man who runs the most powerful nation on Earth might know something about his own portfolio before trying out that attack. Then again, Obama has rung up four straight trillion-dollar deficits, so clearly fiscal management isn’t one of his strong suits.
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