Look, I actually don’t want to be That Guy, but: the President’s annual vacation to Hawaii costs taxpayers millions of bucks. And it’s not just the cash. It’s the cash, and the overtime, and the extra security, and the associated annoyances that come from having to operate around the security, and the general disruption of other people’s schedules. An idea of how bad it can get – and note that the costs start at $3.5 million, in travel time for Air Force One alone:
Exact figures for the trip – outside of Air Force One – are hard to obtain. According to a Watchdog.com report on the 2014 trip, there is also an Air Force cargo plane to bring Obama’s helicopter and limo, which costs more than $150,000 to get to Hawaii and back.
A second plane brings a Marine Corps contingent at similar cost.
The Honolulu Police Department also spends in the region of $275,000 a year in overtime for its officers, while the ambulance from the local Emergency Management Services costs $15,890 to keep on call.
I don’t begrudge the President his vacations – no, really, I don’t. Every day Barack Obama is out of Washington is a day that he’s not actually making decisions; which is to say, it’s a day where he’s not making wrong decisions. So it’s in the best interests of the country that the President be encouraged to stay out of the loop. But Camp David exists for a reason. We set up that place as a nice retreat for our Presidents, and we’ve been improving it for them ever since. And the American people did so as much for our sake as for the President’s. It’s somewhere nice to park the leader of the Free World that won’t interfere with our daily commute.
Yeah, yeah, I know, Mister President: “What’s a commute?” Jeez, January 2017 can’t arrive fast enough.
PS: If you’re wondering why the President doesn’t use Camp David, well… it’s probably partially because the place doesn’t have a golf course (note, by the way, that the First Lady is being much more sensible about using Camp David for its intended purpose). But it’s also just as likely that President Obama doesn’t find that Camp David fits his internal vision of what being President entails. The site has the trappings and perks one associates with power… but it’s not really flashy. This Presidency is all about being flashy whenever possible.
Yes, I find that thought just as depressing, really.
PPS: Yes, I’m sure that other Presidents have had expensive vacations, too. Barack Obama is still abusing the privilege. And yes, I’m actually allowed to say that.