I can imagine it would be a pretty weird task to find a job after you were leader of the free world. But many former presidents, prime ministers and MPs go into the incredibly lucrative business of public speaking.
In September, Mr Barack Obama will reportedly speak at Cantor Fitzgerald’s healthcare conference. The Wall Street talk will see him get a cosy $400,000 pay cheque, which is the same as the yearly salary he received as president.
But while Mr Obama is just following a long line of people who do the same, it’s the comments he made while in office which have seen him labelled a hypocrite.
In the opening weeks of his administration back in 2009, he made reference to Wall Street ‘fat cats’. According to the Telegraph, Mr Obama said: “I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street.
Barack Obama in 2009. Credit: PA
“They’re still puzzled why it is that people are mad at the banks. Well, let’s see. You guys are drawing down 10, 20 million dollar bonuses after America went through the worst economic year in decades and you guys caused the problem.”
So some people are a bit confused as to why Barack is joining their ranks, including 2016 Democrat Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. The Vermont senator has told Bloomberg: “I think it just speaks to the power of Wall Street and the influence of big money in the political process.
“I think it’s unfortunate. President Obama is now a private citizen and he can do anything he wants to but I think it’s unfortunate. You have the former president of Goldman Sachs [who] is now the chief financial advisor for President Trump, and then you have this, so I think it’s unfortunate”.
The conservative Fox News led the charge against the former president, with host Meghan McCain telling the network: “The great irony is that Saint Obama, who is supposed to representing everything that is good and utopian on the left, is actually a dirty capitalist like the rest of us.”
Others on social media shared their thoughts:
To put this in perspective, former UK Chancellor George Osborne made £320,000 over 31 days from giving speeches last year. The BBC reports the biggest fee was more than £80,000 for a talk at JP Morgan.
But Mr Obama could make a hell of a lot more money in a book deal. Similar to public speaking, a memoir is a path usually followed by world leaders.
Theodore Roosevelt, who was in office from 1901 to 1909, authored nearly 40 books between 1882 and the year of his death, 1919.
After leaving office, George W Bush got $7 million (£5.58m) for 2010’s Decision Points and Bill Clinton received $15 million (£11.95m) for his 2001 memoir, My Life. The two former presidents sold 2.6 million and 2.2 million copies of their books, respectively.
Asked about his post-presidency plans, Mr Obama said writing a book would be a “top priority.”
Mr Obama after President Trump’s inauguration. Credit: PA
One of the reasons it is likely to sell so well is that he polarises opinion. Princeton University presidential historian Julian Zelizer told the Hollywood Reporter that he believes sales for an Obama book will top both his predecessors.
“There is broader fascination with Obama, from conservatives who really hate him as well as liberals who deeply admire what he did,” he said.
Literary agent Raphael Sagalyn told the New York Times last September that Obama could earn as much as $30million for a two-to-three post-presidency book contract.
“His is going to be easily the most valuable presidential memoir ever,” he said. “And I think Michelle Obama has the opportunity to sell the most valuable First Lady memoir in history.”
As well as being expected to begin writing his memoir, Barack Obama has also been busy setting up a new charity alongside his wife Michelle.
Featured Image Credit: PA