America’s Royal Family

The President earns $400,000 per year for fulfilling his job, but according to the new book “Presidential Perks Gone Royal” by Robert Kieth Gray, taxpayers spent $1.4 billion last year on the Obama family, according to a Daily Caller article. The article made the comparison that British taxpayers spent $57.8 million on the royal family last year. Part of the price is the largest staff ever, although the author admits that “Obama isn’t the only president to have taken advantage of the expensive trappings of his office. But the amount of money spent on the first family, he argues, has risen tremendously under the Obama administration and needs to be reined in” (Full Article).

Some expenses include a 50% increase in the number of “czars” hired to coordinate specific policies of the administration, such as the “green jobs czar” and “foreign aid czar”. This claim does seem to contradict the Wikipedia entry on executive branch czars which lists Obama as having 38 “czar titles” and 33 “appointees not confirmed by Senate”, compared to 33 “czars titles” for George Bush with 28 “appointees not confirmed by Senate”. While Obama does appear to have the most Czars and appointees not confirmed by the Senate out of any President ever, the sharpest incline was from Clinton (8 “czar titles” and 7 “appointees not confirmed by Senate”) to Bush. Before that the record was held by Franklin Roosevelt who had 11 “czar titles” and 17 “appointees not confirmed by Senate”.

It is not just the numbers in the Obama staff that cost taxpayers extra, it is the salaries themselves. “Obama has 469 senior staffers and 226 are paid more than $100,000 a year, according to the book. Seventy-seven are paid as much as $172,000 per year. He also has appointed 43 “czars.””

Another part of the Obama’s tab being picked up by the taxpayers is the cost of the First Lady’s vacations, which amounted to 42 days, not including weekends, in the span of one year. There is also a full time projectionist for the White House Theater, and of course the Obama’s dog, Bo, has a handler who gets paid six figures per year.

But one of the biggest expenses appears to be the frequency with which the President uses air force one. The family dog has even been flown on air force one with his handler to join the rest of the Obama family who were already on vacation; who knew owning a dog could be so expensive! A conflict of interest was also brought up in regards to the President’s use of air force one in campaigning for President–flying to campaign stops, attending fundraisers etc.

In addition to the President’s salary, he receives a “$50,000 a year expense account, a $100,000 travel account, $19,000 entertainment budget and an additional million for “unanticipated needs””. If the President seriously feels empathetic towards the middle class, maybe he should start by cutting Presidential expenses, if only as a symbol to the belt tightening endured by the American people during his administration.

 

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