Being the president of United States is no easy job; however, there are a few perks to the coveted position. President Barack Obama often gets questioned for his lavish golf outings that are costing the American people. In fact, in 2015 for the months of March and April; the sum of both trips cost the taxpayers an astounding $1,836,555. With the country’s economic standing teeter tottering; it probably wasn’t a wise move on his part. Love him or hate him, he is the president and he should be allowed to enjoy some leisure time. The question on most people’s minds is how much is too much?
Palm Springs, California
The Freedom of Information Act released reports via Judicial Watch of two trips President Obama took to California and Florida. He only played five rounds of golf in Palm Springs, yet it costs $20,406 per hole. That cost includes airfare, meals, attendants and security that had to be by his side. There were other enormous costs that are not known to the public. This trip to Palm Springs in February of 2015 was excessive. In fact, the flight alone was over $1,031,685. Keep in mind that this doesn’t include anything but getting him there and back. Security costs were not included and neither were his meals or any lodging.
Palm City, Florida
Of course, everyone knows that President Obama travels via Air Force One. According to official costs released, his outing in Palm City, Florida costs $804,870.30 for the flight. It’s hard to believe that the president is so frivolous with money when there are clearly so many financial concerns in the country. Is he being too lax in his duties and should he be more concerned with the things going on in the country, or the world?
The official FOIA documents stated the two trips costs $2.9 million combined. What kind of person takes two trips and barely plays golf and yet racks up such a huge bill? Sure, some consideration must be given that he cannot just get in his car and go on vacation. He must take a whole entourage with him, so the costs are expected to be inflated a bit. However, how much is sufficient and when is it unnecessary spending?
Vacationer And Chief
Over the past year, Obama has taken 38 holidays. Sure, he has the weight of the world on his shoulders, but does that give him a right to take off so many days? In the past six years, he has spent over $40 million in vacations. $6.2 million of those funds have been for security alone. $40 million is excessive what has he done for jobs for the rest of the country? That money could have helped in other areas.
Obama isn’t the only president that loved to travel. The previous president, George W. Busch also enjoyed his days off. While Busch and his family would relax at their retreat in Texas, they didn’t take the lavish trips that the Obama family has. Michelle Obama and her daughters went to China on spring break in March of 2014. The cost to fly them there was $360,000. A commercial airline ticket would have been significantly lower; they could have brought protection along. Of course, there are security concerns; but what about the concerns of the American people and their money? Yes, other presidents spend money on traveling too; but no records show anyone having such exorbitant tastes like Obama. According to official records, Bill Clinton took off vacation days totaling 174, and Ronald Reagan took holidays that totaled 390 days. However, none of them come close to the cost range of the Obama Administration.
The White House Releases Statement On The Matter
Mark Knoller is an unofficial record keeper to the Presidential happenings in the White House. According to his reports, Obama spend more than 22 days on vacation in a span of 160 days. Even the most stressful jobs don’t call for such a “rest period.” The White House is aware of all the tongue wagging regarding the Obama and his lavish vacation tendencies. They released a statement saying that the Obama’s are paying for things from their own pocket. While being the President is a lucrative job that pays $400,000 per year, that doesn’t include the free house, staff, chefs and all the other perks that comes with the job. Broken down to hourly costs, Obama makes $223.84 an hour based on a 40 hour work week. True, they might be able to pay for some of the expenses, but it’s doubtful they could or would cover such inflated costs.
220 Golf Outings Is Impressive
The real source of contention with the American people and their president is the numerous golf outings. Golf is considered a leisure sport and usually reserved for those who want to stroll around the course doing much of nothing. It’s often a sport of those who are retired. How can one of the most powerful men in the world have nothing to do than chance a ball around a course? He could work on the foreign policy or take care of the immigration issues. Why doesn’t he address the issues on ISIS or the potential wars that are brewing in the Middle East? No, they all take a back seat to his golf habit. There are golf courses in Washington D.C. too!
In February of 2014, the President went to Palm Springs, Ca for yet another round of golf. This area seems to be one of his favorite hangouts. He did meet up with the King Abdullah II of Jordan, but the cost of his adventure is really surprising. Judicial Watch estimated this four-day trip cost the country $2,066,594. This was in February, then again in March; he was off for another trip. In March of 2014, the President went to Key Largo, Florida. Though this was just a two-day vacation; it costs the country plenty. Did he really need another trip in March after just going in February of the same year?
In 2014, Aug. 10-18 to be exact, he spent a fourth summer vacation in Martha’s Vineyard. Pictures were snapped of the golfing president and plastered all over the news. The country was outraged by his lavish lifestyle while the rest of the world sits in turmoil and the unemployment rate continues to set records in areas.
Trips Planned At The Right Time
In 2015 when he took the February trip to Florida, the country was in utter chaos. Heavy snow covered most of the region for most of the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard from December through April. Many areas were declared “states of emergency” and help was called in for the residents. The polar vortex caused havoc in a great portion of the country, but the president was off on a golfing outing both in February and March of that year. He didn’t seem to worry, as he escaped the cold for a while in Florida, and again in California.
The trip on March 28 of 2015 seemed to be at the worst time. President Obama addressed the nation on the 9th of the same month, stating that Venezuela was a threat and signed official documents. There was also great concern about Iran and nuclear weapons. The country was in preparation for an attack and things were escalating. Also, on the 25th of that month, US Army soldier Bowe Bergdahl was released after being held by the Taliban-aligned Haqqani network in Afghanistan. The trade was done on the White House grounds, which was said to break laws. He had been held for six years and was tortured for leaving his post. However, president Obama was too busy to make an appearance; he just brushed it under the carpet and headed out to golf three days later.
When is it Too Much?
Taxpayers have every right to be outraged at the wasteful and frivolous lifestyles of not only President Obama but also his wife. These golf vacations have cost the country big. The matter has gained so much controversy that the Secret Service is no longer responding to requests for documentation about security costs of these trips. Some say it is a travel scandal and that President Obama is guilty of abuse of office. He is abusing the taxpayers and in contempt of the rule of law.
The aforementioned staggering posts show that they try to cover their costs to avoid any controversy. While the American people don’t need to know every detail, they have every right to know when their leader is taking advantage of his position. The White House takes a stance that the Obama’s cover their own expenses. However, the critics say if they are paying for anything, it is a minuscule amount. The majority would view his spending as lavish, but there are still those that argue that the president needs to take breaks. His job is one that is never ending, and he is required to be on call and working even on holidays.