Who do you think costs more to support every year: the Queen of England or Barack Obama? If you guessed the Queen you are wrong by around $1,942,000,000. The citizens of Great Britain pony up approximately $58 million annually to support the Queen, a mere pittance compared to the $2 billion Americans spend supporting Barack Obama and his extravagant lifestyle. Presidential perks and budgets have been increasing steadily over the years, but no president has spent more on himself and his office than Barack Obama, and he has done this at a time when 23 million Americans are unemployed and America is carrying a $16 trillion debt. Apparently President Obama thinks leadership means living large while Americans suffer.
A new book by political insider, Robert Keith Gray, titled Presidential Perks Gone Royal makes for informative but disturbing reading. Gray served as appointments secretary to Dwight D. Eisenhower and as a member of Ike’s cabinet. He has also served Presidents Nixon, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush in various capacities. Consequently, he has seen the growth of presidential perks up close and personal and is able to bring an insider’s perspective to his analysis of them. I am indebted to Gray’s book for the facts presented in this column.
The cost of presidential perks reached an all-time high during the eight years of the George W. Bush administration, but not to be out done President Obama topped Bush’s spending record in just three years. Compare Barack Obama with some of his presidential predecessors. John F. Kennedy and Herbert Hoover took no salary while serving as president. William Howard Taft paid for the first presidential automobile out of his own pocket. When Harry Truman left office, he and Bess drove home to Missouri in the family car. Contrast how these presidents—men who respected tax payers by minimizing presidential spending—with Barack Obama whose frequent vacations have cost the American tax payer millions. For example, his much ballyhooed “date night” to New York with Michelle cost taxpayers $2 million. And it’s not like the president cannot afford to help out a little—his net worth exceeds $10 million.
Barack Obama has increased the size and cost of the White House staff astronomically, and he has done this in less than four years. For example, without even conferring with Congress, President Obama hired 43 “czars,” some with salaries higher than those paid to the members of Congress who had no say in their being hired. Add to the high salaries of these 43 czars the cost of their operating budgets, limousines, and well-paid staffs and you are beginning to spend some money. If the cost of 43 czars is not enough to get your attention, consider the cost of the 469 senior staff positions Obama added to the White House payroll, 77 of whom are paid more than $172,000 per year—not bad during a time of record unemployment. In fact, as president, Barack Obama has been a one-man employment agency. Unfortunately, the only jobs he has created are in his office. While in office, President Obama has helped himself—literally—but he has done very little for the American tax payers who are funding his extravagance.
Here are some questions for the reader to contemplate: How can a man worth more than $10 million who pays the staffer who walks the family dog $102,000 annually claim to be the candidate who understands the problems of the poor and unemployed? Should a man who travels on Air Force One with a crew of 26, including five chefs, be critical of Mitt Romney for being wealthy? Why would President Obama even need a Homeland Security czar when America already has a cabinet-level secretary for homeland security with 165,000 employees and a $35 million dollar budget? Why does President Obama need 43 czars when President Clinton had only eight? These questions and Barack Obama’s royal lifestyle—a lifestyle enjoyed while Americans suffer—should be contemplated by voters before they enter the booth on November 6th.