December 03, 2012
The Fierce Urgency of "I Want It NOW!"
Now safely ensconced in the White House for 49 more months, the Obamas have decorated the place with 54 Christmas trees this year. Even allowing for the usual Washington excesses with taxpayer money, that's a whole grove of Christmas trees.
"We have 54 trees in the White House," an excited Michelle Obama proudly told visitors the other day. "54! That’s a lot of trees."
In fact, the Obamas' 54 trees this year are almost 50% more Christmas trees than last year.
54 trees... hopefully that will be enough to last the Obamas for the two weeks they'll be in residence before they jet off to their 4 million dollar vacation in Hawaii:
The estimated costs to taxpayers of this latest vacation foray is in excess of $4 million. The largest single expense is Obama's 747 jet, Air Force One, which runs about $182,000 per flight hour. It's a nine-hour journey, each way, between Washington and Honolulu. That's about $1,638,000 one-way. Their bags fly free.
Those transportation totals do not include the costs of Air Force cargo planes to haul the fleet of armored cars to the island and back, so the Obamas can visit Hawaii friends, beaches and restaurants. And so the president can get to a nearby Marine base for his morning workouts and to various golf courses with friends.
Besides covering the Christmas and New Year holidays, Obama's vacation dates also strangely coincide with what was expected to be the peak negotiating window for Obama and congressional Democrats and Republicans to address the so-called fiscal cliff. Until recently the cliff has been described as something of a financial doomsday, albeit one that Obama and Capitol Hill protagonists set for themselves.
You would think that perhaps a man who just berated his opponent for insufficient sensitivity to the suffering of average Americans might show a little more situational awareness. Or he could just appear to be taking the fiscal cliff negotiations seriously.
Posted by Cassandra at December 3, 2012 06:12 PM
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In fairness, think of all the jobs he's providing. It's not just the direct government workers like mechanics and flight attendants. Think of how many prostitution jobs his Secret Service detachment supports. And the liquor stores! Man, it's like a traveling carnival. I miss the Presidency.
Posted by: Bill Clinton at December 3, 2012 10:10 PM
And so the president can get to a nearby Marine base for his morning workouts
As if the guys there have nothing better to do than get dragged out for working parties to spiff the place up, the man-hours lost to spit-shining and brass polishing. BTDT.
Posted by: Brian Dunbar at December 4, 2012 12:40 AM
"We have 54 trees in the White House,"
I'd be okay with this if the pres had gone out to a tree farm and personally hacksawed each of the 54 trees.
Posted by: Brian Dunbar at December 4, 2012 12:44 AM
Gaaaahhh. The Gaia killing, it is too much. Someone in the WH Press corp should ask a respectfully tough question about this evil practice!!!
Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at December 4, 2012 10:21 AM
By way of John Derbyshire (?):
the president can appoint White House staffers without Congressional confirmation. Obama has 469 senior staffers. Two hundred and twenty-six of them are paid more than $100,000 a year, according to the book. Seventy-seven are paid as much as $172,000 per year. That's 36 million dollars, if you're keeping count. And this is not to mention the 43 so-called "czars" Obama has appointed. As nice as it is to be Barack Obama, it must be almost as nice to be one of his pals...
...It's even worse than I thought, though: the President's dog has a chief of staff.
"Bo made the news when he and his handler were flown to join the president on vacation in Maine. It has been reported that the first family's dog handler was paid $102,000, last year."
Presidential Perks Gone Royal by Robert Keith Gray"
Harry Truman used to buy his own postage stamps — and lick them, too.
I wonder if Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu lived as large as Barry and Michelle?
I wonder whether historians will see this imperial presidency as worthy of a name –the Bling Dynasty?
Posted by: George Pal at December 4, 2012 10:39 AM
"Two hundred and twenty-six of them are paid more than $100,000 a year, according to the book. Seventy-seven are paid as much as $172,000 per year."
These numbers are just down payments. The real payoff for these people will come when they move into the private sector and get paid to leverage their contacts and their knowledge of regulatory & legislative processes.
Posted by: david foster at December 4, 2012 08:23 PM
The real payoff for these people will come when they move into the private sector and get paid to leverage their contacts and their knowledge of regulatory & legislative processes.
How about that. Google: Liz Fowler, Top Obama Health Care Aide, To Lobby For Johnson & Johnson
Posted by: Brian Dunbar at December 5, 2012 05:53 PM