Dec 30, 2010
Obama vacation costing more than $1.4M, paper claims
No one knows exactly how much President Obama's vacation in Hawaii is costing taxpayers -- neither the White House nor the Secret Service like to provide such information -- but one local news outlet is putting the tab at more than $1.4 million, at least.
The Hawaii Reporter did some calculating, though, as we've explained before, it's almost impossible to assess the true cost of these kinds of trips.
For example, most of the cost of the Reporter's estimate is the president's Air Force One ride to Hawaii on the night of Dec. 22; Air Force One is under constant maintenance, and could well be used even if the president wasn't on vacation. (The paper also points out that Mrs. Obama and the Obama daughters flew out early to the islands.)
Secret Service costs are included, but they would be guarding the president anyway, though their housing has to be paid for when they are on the road. The same applies to the president's staff.
We should also point out, as the Reporter does, that Obama is paying his own house rental.
And there are also a host of unknown costs, and one basic truth: Being president is expensive, especially when they are on the road.
Here's part of the paper's breakdown:
With estimates secured from a host of professionals, city officials and law enforcement, Hawaii Reporter estimates costs to taxpayers will at least include:
Mrs. Obama's early flight to Hawaii: $63,000 (White House Dossier)
Obama's round trip flight to Hawaii: $1 million (GAO estimates)
Housing in beachfront homes for Secret Service and Seals in Kailua ($1,200 a day for 14 days): $16,800
Costs for White House staff staying at Moana Hotel: $134,400 ($400 per day for 24 staff) -- excluding meals and other room costs
Police overtime: $250,000 (2009 costs reported by Honolulu Police Department)
Ambulance: $10,000 (City Spokesperson)
TOTAL COST: $1,474,200
Rental of office building in Kailua on canal
Security upgrades and additional phone lines
Costs for car rentals and fuel for White House staff staying at Moana Hotel (Secret Service imports most of the cars used here to escort the president)
Surveillance before the president arrives
Travel costs for Secret Service and White House staff traveling ahead of the President
(Posted by David Jackson)