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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Cost of Presidential Travel

$236,000 to fly from Washington to Chicago and back. That doesn't include SS protection, motorcades, and helicopters. I'll bet the fuel bill for the armored cars and helicopters would be enough to bankrupt many small nations.

From the article:

But the bill, White House aides say, is one that is largely unavoidable because of the security and communication needs required by the modern president.
So why does the President have to travel to Chicago to push his agenda? Why not economize a little and do speeches live from the White House? Teleconferences and videoconferences are a lot cheaper than flying in a jet and they create a lot less pollution. Imagine that, the President could save us a lot of money and "save the planet" at the same time.

The published costs never include any estimates on how much the trip cost citizens in terms of time and money wasted, either. Almost every trip involves shutting down some freeway somewhere. All the people that normally use that freeway have to find an alternate way to get to their destination and it usually takes longer and burns more fuel.

I just love this part of the article:

Perhaps aware of the costs of Air Force One, the Obama family has used the plane for just one recreational trip to Chicago in his first five months in office.

As expensive as that trip was, it is still roughly half the distance President George W. Bush routinely flew to visit his ranch near Crawford, Texas.
The President's family has only made ONE recreational trip to Chicago in his first five months in office, while the evil W "routinely flew to visit his ranch" blah, blah, blah.

As far as the first paragraph goes, it's not like the current President has only used AF1 for one flight. Don't forget the President's little date with his wife. I don't think they've calculated exactly how much that cost. As far as the second paragraph goes, it looks like more of the sad old "no matter how bad hussein is, W was worse" argument that crops up in the LWM.

"Bush did it, too, and he did it more!" I tried that argument once with my Dad and it didn't go over well.

Dad - "Why did you do that?"
Me - "Big sister did it first."
Dad - "If she stepped in a pile of dog mess on purpose and tracked it on the carpet, would you do it, too, just because she did?"

Seems to me that supporters of the current President are about as mature as a four year old, which is about how old I was when I tried that trick.

In the end, the trip probably cost $300,000 or more, which is still peanuts compared to all the other money that this President has wasted and will waste and the debt he will saddle our grandchildren with. Still, TV broadcasts are a lot cheaper and he ought to be leading by example. If he made all the speeches pushing his agenda by broadcast instead of traveling he would save so much money that nobody would care when he took his family on vacation in AF1.

Let's here it for the Presidential videoconference!!

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