Being the leader of the free world is an expensive proposition and the costs don’t stop once you leave the White House.

The government spent nearly $3.7million on former presidents in 2012, according to an analysis just released by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.

That covers a pension, compensation and benefits for office staff, and the government also picks up the tab for other costs like travel, office space and postage.

The most expensive of the bunch was the former President who was most recently in the White House, as George W. Bush clocked in last year with just over $1.3million in costs.

With ex-presidents able to command eye-popping sums for books, speaking engagements and the like in their post-White House years, the report raises questions about whether the U.S. should provide such generous subsidies at a time when spending cuts and the deficit are forcing lawmakers and federal agencies to seek ways to cut back.

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