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Taxpayers spent $1.4 billion on Obama family last year, perks questioned in new book

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Alex Pappas is a  political reporter at The Daily Caller. His work has also appeared in the  Press-Register in Mobile, Ala. and The Washington Examiner in D.C. He's a  graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn.
 
 
FILE - In this June 27, 2012 file photo, President Barack  Obama and his wife, Michelle, arrive at the Congressional picnic on the South  Lawn of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh,  File)

Taxpayers spent $1.4 billion dollars on everything from  staffing, housing, flying and entertaining President Obama and his family last  year, according to the author of a new book on taxpayer-funded presidential  perks.

In comparison, British taxpayers spent just $57.8 million on the royal  family.

Author Robert Keith Gray writes in “Presidential Perks Gone Royal” 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.

Gray told The Daily Caller that the $1.4 billion spent on the Obama family  last year is the “total cost of the presidency,” factoring the cost of the “biggest staff in history at the highest wages ever,” a 50 percent increase in the numbers of appointed czars and an Air Force One “running with the frequency of a scheduled air line.”

“The most concerning thing, I think, is the use of taxpayer funds to actually abet his  re-election,” Gray, who worked in the Eisenhower administration and for other  Republican presidents, said in an interview with TheDC on Wednesday.

“The press has been so slow in picking up on this extraordinary increase in  the president’s expenses,” Gray told TheDC. (RELATED:  Five shocking truths about Michelle Obama)

Specifically, Gray said taxpayer dollars are subsidizing Obama’s re-election  effort when he uses Air Force One to jet across the country campaigning.

When the trip is deemed political, it’s customary for the president to pay  the equivalent of a first class commercial ticket for certain passengers. But  Gray says that hardly covers the taxpayer cost of flying the president and his  staffers around on Air Force One.

“When the United States’ billion-dollar air armada is being used politically,  is it fair to taxpayers that we only be reimbursed by the president’s campaign  committee for the value of one first-class commercial ticket for each passenger  who is deemed aboard ‘for political purposes?’” Gray asks in the book.

“And is that bargain-price advantage fair to those opposing an incumbent  president?” (SEE  ALSO: Millions of taxpayer dollars used for Disney World  conference)

In the book, Gray admits Americans want their president to be safe and  comfortable but argues the system should be reformed to stop the amount of  unquestioned perks given to the president.

“There is no mechanism for anyone’s objection if a president were to pay his  chief of staff $5,000,000 a year,” he told TheDC. “And nothing but a president’s  conscience can dissuade him from buying his own reelection with use of some  public money.”

Aside from a salary, the president gets a $50,000 a year expense account, a  $100,000 travel account, $19,000 entertainment budget and an additional mill

Here is a sample of other pricey taxpayer funded perks exclusively reserved  for the president:

The president can to appoint high-paid staffers without Senate  confirmation: 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.”

The president can vacation for free at Camp David: Gray  writes that each round trip made to Camp David costs the taxpayers $25,350.  It’s also estimated that the combined transportation and personnel costs for a  Camp David visit are $295,000 per night.

The president has a full-time movie projectionist in the White House  theater: Projectionists sleep at the White House and  are there 24 hours a day in case anyone needs to see a movie. “Compared to the  450 times President Carter used the movie theater in his four years in the White  House, the average American citizen, according to industry statistics, goes out  to see a movie slightly less than five times a year,” Gray writes.

The president’s family’s gets certain travel and security expenses  paid while vacationing: “First Lady Michelle Obama drew flack from the  media and irate citizens when it was disclosed that, not counting Saturdays and  Sundays, she spent 42 days on vacation — within the span of one year.”

The president’s dog gets its own high-paid staffer: “Bo made  the news when he and his handler were flown to join the president on vacation in  Maine,” Gray wrote about the Obama family dog. “It has been reported that the  first family’s dog handler was paid $102,000, last year.”

Read more:  http://dailycaller.com/2012/09/26/taxpayers-spent-1-4-billion-on-obama-family-last-year-perks-questioned-in-new-book/#ixzz27jhApJM9ion  for “unanticipated needs,” he notes.

Entry #99

Comments

1.
Coin TossComment by Coin Toss - September 28, 2012, 6:32 pm
Excellent find CajunWin4.

I'd rather see someone who knows how to make money as president than someone who only knows how to leech off of the taxpayers and bleed the system dry.
2.
CajunWin4Comment by CajunWin4 - September 29, 2012, 12:55 am
Investigate his Chicago days , I did talk about being corrupt and Incompetent !!~!!

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