Around $4 million (£2.6 million) – the expected total cost to the US taxpayer of the Obama Christmas family vacation to Hawaii according to the Hawaii Reporter (hat tip: Rob Bluey at The Foundry). This is an astonishing amount of public money to be spending in an age of austerity – when the president is supposed to be leading efforts to cut the US budget deficit, the largest since World War Two, and a towering $15 trillion national debt:
Hawaii Reporter research shows the total cost for the President’s visit for taxpayers far exceeded $1.5 million in 2010 – but is even more costly this year because he extended his vacation by three days and the cost for Air Force One travel has jumped since last assessed in 2000. In addition, Hawaii Reporter was able to obtain more specifics about the executive expenditures.
The total cost (based on what is known) for the 17-day vacation roundtrip vacation to Hawaii for the President, his family and staff has climbed to more than $4 million.
This $4 million figure is nearly 100 times the average annual salary of an American worker, which currently stands at $41,673. The Hawaii Reporter calculates that travel costs alone for the president and his entourage via Air Force One (plus a separate trip for Michelle Obama who has traveled in advance), in addition to a United States Air Force C-17 cargo aircraft to transport “the presidential limos, helicopters and other support equipment”, amounts to a whopping $3,629,622. Housing for security staff costs an estimated $151,200, and luxurious hotel rooms for the president’s 24-strong staff a further $72,216. Based on these figures the total cost to the federal US taxpayer (and the additional burden on the national debt) is a staggering $3,853,038. If you add in local taxpayer costs of $260,000 (including police overtime and city ambulances), the total public expense is $4,113,038.
The story has of course been ignored by the liberal-dominated mainstream media, which inevitably turns a blind eye to abuses of power by the Obama presidency. You can imagine the outrage that would have greeted George W Bush if had tried this kind of stunt during his time in office. He would probably have been burned at the stake on the pages of The New York Times and endlessly condemned on network television.
Like the vast majority of Americans, Barack Obama should be prepared to make sacrifices, not least when he’s spending other people’s money. Is it too much to ask the president to vacation at Camp David in Maryland instead of flying nearly 5,000 miles to Hawaii? Once again he is displaying a let-them-eat-cake attitude, at a time of mass unemployment, stagnant housing markets, and growing poverty.
For President Obama even his vacations have become a vulgar symbol of big government excess and over-spending – let’s also not forget his grand summer holiday at Martha’s Vineyard. While tens of millions of Americans struggle this Christmas to pay the mortgage and put food on the table for their families, the leader of the free world will be enjoying a fortnight of luxury – heavily subsidised at their expense. It is a further demonstration of an out-of-touch presidency with an entitlement mentality, one that treats American taxpayers as a money-printing machine. It is little wonder that over 70 per cent of Americans believe their country is moving down the wrong track (according to RealClear Politics), presided over by a liberal elite that runs up mountains of debt for future generations to bear.