As a rule, it’s small-minded and silly to complain about presidential vacations—presidents and their families take vacations just like the rest of us.
Well, not quite like the like the rest of us (and lots of the rest of us aren’t able to afford vacations at all in this economy).
The problems with the Obama family's upcoming Christmas in Hawaii is that the lavishness is unseemly in a period of widespread economic suffering and that the Obamas aren’t going easy on the American taxpayer. Nile Gardiner reports in the U.K. Telegraph:
Around $4 million (£2.6 million) – the expected total cost to the US taxpayer of the Obama Christmas family vacation to Hawaii according to the Hawaii Reporter (hat tip: Rob Bluey at The Foundry). This is an astonishing amount of public money to be spending in an age of austerity – when the president is supposed to be leading efforts to cut the US budget deficit, the largest since World War Two, and a towering $15 trillion national debt.
Since the president may be detained in Washington (official business, ya know–bother, bother), Mrs. Obama is going early, so we are paying for His and Her Planes. It might have been a nice gesture for Mrs. Obama and the girls to wait for Dad. I mean, it’s not like they don’t live in a nice house. It could be worse and is for most Americans, especially the unemployed.
Gardiner also suggests that, given our economic condition, the Obamas might have made a sacrifice and spent the holidays at, say Camp David.
White House Dossier (“Carney Dodges Questions on Michelle’s Hawaii Flight”) says that the price tag for the first lady’s separate flight is likely to be $100,000 or more.
What is bothersome about this is that it assumes that government officials are the new ruling class and deserve the royal treatment. They are exempt from the rules they impose on the rest of us.
Raise your hand if you think Obama will refuse to fly on corporate jets after he leaves office.