Diary

The Story Is Familiar . . .

An enterprise is is financial trouble and instead of helping it save money, the leaders of that enterprise indulge themselves with creature comforts instead.

A tale from Wall Street? Nope. A tale from Washington:

A day after banning corporate executives from earning more than $500,000 a year via taxpayer bailouts, Mr. Obama on Thursday will head to a Democratic retreat that has burned through half a million dollars in taxpayer cash for annual retreats at luxury resorts.

While President Clinton’s first trip as president was to Detroit, where he held a town hall meeting with average Americans to talk about how to fix the economy, and President Bush flew to Fort Stewart, Ga., to visit soldiers in the 3rd Infantry Division, Mr. Obama’s first trip aboard Air Force One will take him to a luxury resort in Williamsburg.

“Well, I’d — you know, I’d — Williamsburg is — has a lofty place in our country’s history,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said, when asked if there was any special significance to the president’s choice. “I don’t know that there’s any great symbolism in this one in particular,” he added at Wednesday’s briefing off the West Wing.

Mr. Obama will head to Kingsmill Resort and Spa in the historical Virginia city to start a three-day planning session. The resort boasts multiple championship golf courses, a full-service spa and six restaurants, noted the Hill newspaper, which broke the story about the Democratic retreats.

Democrats will ride together to the resort on a chartered Amtrak train at a cost to taxpayers of about $70,000, the Hill reported. Taxpayers will also foot the bill for security helicopters to fly above the train. The caucus will spend thousands: In 2003, for example, they spent $11,200 on food and $6,900 on entertainment, the paper said.

The trip comes after several Democratic lawmakers criticized American International Group Inc. executives for spending nearly $500,000 at a company retreat in California just days after the federal government bailed the company out with $85 billion in taxpayer funds. In addition, Wells Fargo & Co., which received $25 billion in taxpayer bailout money and recently announced a $2.3 billion loss for the last quarter of 2008, canceled its planned 12-night junket to expensive hotels in Las Vegas for events that included a luxurious four-day employee sales conference.

Really, the jokes write themselves at this point.