George W. Bush today announced that he would not be serving out the balance of his second term. Instead, the President has decided to take early retirement.
"When I looked at my current employment status and crunched the numbers," said Mr. Bush. "It just made sense to pack it in early."
Like many of his baby boomer colleagues, President Bush was apparently looking to get a head start on retirement.
"I’m already 62 and I know I could have stayed until January 20th of next year," said Mr. Bush. "But I figured, why wait? Most of my friends have hit the links and I’d like to join them sooner rather than later."
Apparently an early escape to the golf course was not the only deciding factor for the President.
"When I met with Barack Obama on Monday," said Mr. Bush. "He kindly gave me a brief PowerPoint presentation detailing all the options for Social Security benefits. Did you know you can get like 70% of the full benefits starting at age 62? Heck, if I’d known that, I might have left even earlier this year."
However, given the generous pension provisions for former Presidents, a steady income for Mr. Bush is pretty much guaranteed. Starting on January 20th, he will draw down $191,300 a year plus close to a million dollars more for office and travelling expenses.
"Look, I’ve put in almost a full eight years," said Bush. "And it’s time I got more than a one-month summer break at the ranch. I don’t think folks realize how tiring it is being the Decider."
Another factor in Mr. Bush’s decision was the number of sick days he had accumulated over his two terms in office.
"That’s another thing Barack kindly pointed out," said Mr. Bush. "I didn’t even know I had that many coming to me. In fact, I’ve got enough sick days to cover me all the way up to January 20th and beyond."
There was some speculation that Mr. Bush’s current level of unpopularity had something to do with his decision to retire early. When pressed, however, the President said no.
"That’s not something that just happened," said Bush. "I’ve been unpopular for a long, long time. If I was going to let that bother me, I would have left after my first term."
But it does appear that the surfeit of national and international problems facing The White House may have had something to do with the President’s early departure.
"Yeah, I have to admit that I wasn’t looking forward to dealing with that mess anymore," said Bush. "I think it’s time I let a younger guy take a shot at it. As Barack kindly pointed out, I think I’ve done more than enough for now."
Although President Bush specifically asked that there not be a retirement party for him, it appears that spontaneous celebrations have broken out in almost every major city from coast to coast.