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OP-ED: Time for president to be a role model of fiscal discipline
July 30, 2014, 05:00 AM By Dwight L. Schwab Jr.

If ever there was one cost to taxpayers that should be the ultimate outrage, it would be the notion of a presidential vacation. Not the sort of presidential vacation enjoyed on government property such as nearby Camp David, Md. established by President Eisenhower.

No, this is about the incredibly expensive adventures to exotic locations like the island of Oahu.

As this country barrels toward the "fiscal cliff,” the federal government must become an example for all Americans. Who better to start such a trend than President Obama?

The president’s image as portrayed by his admiring mainstream media is that of a man leading the good fight to liberate the United States from impending fiscal chaos. But should the president and Congress end in stalemate on the fiscal deadline this Jan. 1, where will the president be?

President Obama, the fiscal spending warrior, will be in beautiful, sunny Hawaii, soaking in a 20-day, $4 million vacation. Not close to the White House for any movement in budget negotiations (like Camp David), but thousands of miles away. Why?

Residents living along the ocean and canal that surrounds the multi-million dollar homes at Kailuana Place where the president stays, will have restrictions that will be implemented for 20 days beginning Dec. 17 and running through Jan. 6. Think they’re happy?

No such problems exist in the private, taxpayer-funded Maryland retreat just hours from the White House. It has all the comforts of home and readily available security already in place. Forgoing this existing vacation spot in lieu of a Hawaiian paradise may come as a surprising cost to many Americans without jobs or funds to buy presents this cash-strapped Christmas season.

Here are the incredible logistics for the president and his family’s security:

The Hawaii Reporter indicates the president’s stay will cost almost a half-million dollars (or more) for C-17 military aircraft transports to fly limos and a Navy SEAL mobile security detail.

The cost for the USAF-C-17 cargo aircraft that transports the presidential limos, helicopters and other support equipment to Hawaii has never been disclosed in the years the president has traveled to Hawaii. However, the flight time between Andrews Air Force Base and Hawaii is at about 21.5 hours round-trip, with estimated operating costs of $12,000 per hour.

The U.S. Marine Corps provides a presidential helicopter, along with pilots and support crews for the test flights, which travel on another C-17 flight. That is $258,000, not including costs for the four to six member crews’ per diem and hotels.

The cost for the UCAF C-17 cargo aircraft that transports the presidential limos, helicopters and the 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 around where the president stays.

Last year, that added up to about $200 per bedroom per day, or $21,000 per average home for a nearly three-week period, with Special Forces renting at least seven homes. Security arrives ahead of the president, costing taxpayers about $176,400 for the length of the visit. Now doesn’t Camp David seem a bit saner in these trying times? Does anyone really care whether it’s a Democrat or Republican?

Times have changed indeed and our role model must change with them.

Dwight L. Schwab Jr. has 30 years of work experience in the publishing industry, including ABC/Cap Cities and International Thomson. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and minors in political science and American history. He is a native of Portland, Ore. and a resident of the Bay Area since 1977. His writing websites include NewsBlaze.com & u-Follow.com.

Google his complete portfolio at "Dwight L . Schwab Jr.”


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