Do President Obama and the First Family spend too much time and money traveling?
Following a weekend golf trip to Florida where the President played golf with Tiger Woods and the First Lady and First Daughters went skiing in the mountains, I did look into the president’s travel. In his first 31 months in office, President Obama spent 61 days on vacation. Over the same period of time, President George W. Bush spent 112 days on vacation. It’s argued that Obama is taking more expensive vacations, but specific numbers on exactly what is spent on presidential travel is not concise – and that may be on purpose!
Today, Senator Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, sent a letter to the White House budget office calling for a “hiring freeze” on non-essential positions, such as a staff assistant to answer phones at the Labor Department, which pays up to $81,204 annually…and to cut back on travel.
As the battle to change the fiscal course of the United States continues, both political parties have differing views on what is the best course of action – spending cuts or increasing taxes. Obviously, a combination of cutting spending and increasing some taxes is the right answer, but if this country doesn’t stop spending money in a wasteful manner, any increase in taxes will only be wasted by the government.
I have read different estimates on what it costs when the president uses Air Force One. The costs range from about $30,000 an hour to $50,000 an hour. And then there are all the expenses of security for the President and the first family, the traveling staff and accommodations. President Obama’s recent Hawaiian vacation cost about $4 million.
I’m not going to criticize presidents for taking time off, and I realize presidential vacations are also working vacations, but lavish vacations when Americans are forced to make difficult financial decisions does not set a good example.
This is a bi-partisan problem. Every president has taken trips and spent taxpayers’ dollars on trips that were not necessary. And members of Congress waste our money too. There are countless “fact-finding” trips to wonderful places around the world that could have been avoided with the use of today’s technology.
The President of the United States is primarily a figurehead. He is our leader. Leaders should lead by example. Even though every president has taken advantage of having Air Force One at their disposal - that is no excuse for a president to take trips that are designed to enhance the President’s political image and serve little or no purpose to enhance the United States of America. When I see this President or think about any president using Air Force One for the sole purpose of delivering a policy speech in person for public image, I get the impression that some presidential travel is non-essential and therefore, a waste of money.
When presidents/kings tell their citizens/subjects to sacrifice, but fail to make their own sacrifices then it’s easy to say that a president/king is out-of-touch with “the people.”
President Obama has an opportunity to do something I don’t recall any president ever doing – cut travel and be very public about it. Tell the American people what you are doing and why you are doing it.
Even though it would be mostly symbolic and in reality would do little to solve this nation’s fiscal problems, openly cutting travel is the responsible thing to do. It would also project a message that this President understands what so many Americans are dealing with during this long economic struggle.
The culture of a corporation or a country is formed from the top down. Businesses and individuals, cut back on travel and non-essential expenses when money is an issue. Why shouldn’t we expect the same from the President and all of our political leaders?
The argument that George Bush spent more days on "vacation" than Pres Obama doesn't stand up..........most of GB's time was spent at his ranch in Texas, basically a working vacation...not unlike a president going to Camp David.....hardly comparable to Obama's lavish, costly REAL vacation time. Just not the same!
Obummer Will Always Spend Money...Facts
Ditto to what the previous poster said about GWB's vacations at his ranch. Say what you will about Bush, but he'd be a welcome sight back at the White House. All our current President has done is make excuses and spend, spend, spend...just pushing all the tax-paying citizens deeper into debt while the freeloaders that put BHO back in office couldn't care less.
Nothing is Wrong With Vacations...
There's nothing wrong with taking a vacation now and then, but when you're the POTUS money definitely comes into play. $4 million is a lot of money, more than what any average person will make in a lifetime. I'm not saying the President shouldn't take vacation, it's just that he seems to be doing it in excess. You can tell you're a liberal Scoot because you brought up Obama's favorite excuse, George W. Bush to try and make the current President look better. As someone pointed out earlier, Bush spent a lot of his time at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. It's just not the same, and when Americans are already out of jobs, in debt, and struggling, we should be looking for ways to cut costs and not incur more debt and strain on the hard-working Americans who pay their taxes and struggle to get by. You are right when saying Obama can cut travel, but you have to wonder, will he actually do it?