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Uncle Joe’s Rental Cottage

Vice President Joe Biden lives, at taxpayer expense, at the Naval Observatory when he’s in Washington.  He also owns a nice house in Delaware, where he has lived since 1996.  His previous home was sold to a top executive of Delaware-based credit card company MBNA for a top-dollar price of $1.2 million.  It’s not surprising that Biden turned to MBNA executives when it was time to sell off his old property, since they’re big-money campaign contributors, and gave his son a six-figure executive position.

Biden’s new house is very nice.  He also owns the cottage next door… and has been renting it to his own Secret Service security detail for $2,200 per month.  This is reportedly the same rent he was collecting from the previous tenant.

The unusual arrangement came to light when Jim McElhatton of the Washington Times noticed Biden listed as a “vendor” on federal purchase orders.  Citizen watchdog groups are having a little trouble digesting it:

“He should be afforded every single protection available to him and his family, as should every vice president and president,” said Leslie Paige, spokeswoman for the Washington-based Citizens Against Government Waste.

“But this arrangement seems bizarre to me,” she added. “You’d think the vice president, who shepherded the deficit committee, would think twice about charging the Secret Service rent. Why would he need the money? I don’t get it.”

Biden’s not the richest man in Washington – in fact, he reports a surprisingly low net worth for someone who’s been pulling down six-figure political salaries and benefits for decades – but he is a millionaire, using Barack Obama’s definition of the term.  The L.A. Times takes a look at his income:

In addition to the free Washington house and Secret Service transportation everywhere, the vice president gets those free weekly lunches with Obama at the White House.

Biden’s only paid $230,700 a year by taxpayers, plus $10G’s in entertainment expenses. And last year the Bidens reported $130,000 or so in other income, including $11,000 from the rental.

$230k in salary, plus $10k expenses and $130k in other income?  That’s well over the $250k threshold Democrat Party rhetoric uses to identify a married person as a “millionaire.”  And now we learn that $11k of that “other income” is paid to Biden by the Secret Service detail assigned to protect him.

We’ve been repeatedly told, at very high levels of volume, that the “wealthiest Americans” need to make more “sacrifices” and pay their “fair share.”  Here’s a “millionaire” who enjoys government perks that would be the envy of any billionaire, and he’s not even giving his own Secret Service detail a discount on the rent he charges them.

Imagine Biden was a private-sector CEO, perhaps a defense contractor who had been threatened by terrorists, and required government protection.  What do you suppose the reaction would be, if the mainstream press discovered such a CEO was charging his taxpayer-funded security team $2,200 per month in rent?  The howls of outrage at such a “corrupt” arrangement from business-hating liberals would be deafening.

Personally, I think if the Secret Service finds Biden’s cottage to be an ideal headquarters for his security team, there’s no reason Biden should be obliged to surrender his rental income.  After all, the Founders did take a dim view of forcing citizens to quarter troops.  The Secret Service probably would have rented the same cottage if someone else had owned it, or perhaps found it necessary to make more expensive and less efficient provisions elsewhere. 

But I’m not the one demanding “sacrifices” be dragged out of “millionaires” with the force of law.  One thing is certain: the political class will never, ever make any of those “sacrifices” on a personal level.

Written By

John Hayward began his blogging career as a guest writer at Hot Air under the pen name "Doctor Zero," producing a collection of essays entitled Doctor Zero: Year One. He is a great admirer of free-market thinkers such as Arthur Laffer, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell. He writes both political and cultural commentary, including book and movie reviews. An avid fan of horror and fantasy fiction, he has produced an e-book collection of short horror stories entitled Persistent Dread. John is a former staff writer for Human Events. He is a regular guest on the Rusty Humphries radio show, and has appeared on numerous other local and national radio programs, including G. Gordon Liddy, BattleLine, and Dennis Miller.

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