If you’re an average American like me, you’re getting a headache trying to figure out how to afford Christmas and still pay your monthly bills, much less go on a Hawaiian Vacation. Heck, I’ll be lucky to be able to travel to Memphis, TN from Southaven, Mississippi, a suburb.
However, President Barack Hussein Obama (mm mmm mmmm or is it ho…ho…ho?) and his family don’t have that problem. Scooter and Moochelle are using us as their bank for a 17-day Hawaiian Vacation.
The Hawaii Reporter has the story:
…The President and his family are traveling separately to Hawaii because he wants resolve the payroll tax cut issue before leaving Washington – and his wife does not want to wait.
But the advanced trip and the cost that comes with it – as much as $100,000 (flight and security) – adds to an already expensive vacation for the taxpayers.
Hawaii Reporter research shows the total cost for the President’s visit for taxpayers far exceeded $1.5 million in 2010 – but is even more costly this year because he extended his vacation by three days and the cost for Air Force One travel has jumped since last assessed in 2000. In addition, Hawaii Reporter was able to obtain more specifics about the executive expenditures.
The total cost (based on what is known) for the 17-day vacation roundtrip vacation to Hawaii for the President, his family and staff has climbed to more than $4 million.
The President and his family pay for their own beachfront rental (they are not staying in the Winter White House this year but rather a house on the same street further to the ocean point).
The Kailua rentals are fronted by the ocean and backed by a canal. So, the taxpayers must cover the costs for housing U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Coast Guard and Navy Seals in beach front and canal front homes in Kailua.
That costs about $1,200 a day ($200 allocated per bedroom per day). Since security arrives one day early, homes are rented for 18 days.
That is about $21,600 per home for approximately 7 houses rented at a total cost of $151,200 for security to stay nearby.
Moana Surfrider Resort
The President’s staff and White House Press Corps stay at one of Hawaii’s oldest and most elegant hotels, the Moana Surfrider. Hawaii Reporter confirmed they are again staying there this year. Besides its stunningly beautiful view of Waikiki, and its traditional architecture, it is one of the most pricey hotels in the state.
Government rates are $177 per night, but that only is available during certain times a year.
Rooms typically start at $250 but can cost on average as much as $450 a night, and are even higher during the holidays. Hotel spokeswoman Marsha Weinert said she could “neither confirm nor deny” the president’s staff is staying there.
View of Waikiki Beach from the Moana Surfrider Hotel
A conservative estimate with rooms at the government rate of $177 per day (excluding a 9.25 percent Transient Accommodation Tax and a 4.712 percent General Excise Tax on each bill, meals, internet charges and other charges) means the taxpayers are covering more than $72,216 in hotel bills for an estimated 24 staff.
LOCAL TAXPAYER COSTS: $260,000
Local police over time for the president’s visit has historically cost Oahu taxpayers $250,000 but may be more expensive this year with the extended vacation.
The city ambulance the accompanies the president 24 hours a day through his entire visit is $10,000, according to city spokeswoman Louise Kim McCoy.
There are several costs the White House annually refuses to release, citing security.
For example, the president’s security usually rents an entire floor of an office building in Kailua on the canal during the president’s stay.
There are security upgrades and additional phone lines to several private homes where Obama and friends are staying. That includes bullet proof glass installed, home security systems disabled, new security measures put into place and additional phone lines added.
There is the cost for car rentals and fuel for White House staff staying at Moana Hotel.
And there are additional travel costs Secret Service and White House staff traveling ahead of the President.
The total cost (based on what is known) for a 17-day round trip vacation to Hawaii for the President and his family and staff and security is an estimated $4,113,038.
That’s almost 4 times more than the Obamas’ Hawaiian Christmas Vacation last year!
The Hawaii Reporter then compiled an estimated account of expenses for the Obama trip and found that, before factoring in unknown costs, taxpayers forked over almost $1.5 million.
Here’s how the paper broke it down:
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
Well, I guess Obama figured that he might as well blow it out before he gets thrown out.
Too bad he’s kissing Moochelle under the mistletoe on our dime.