Money, Money, Money

By | July 3, 2011

Budgets, spending, cuts, and shutdowns are common words that we read and hear in the news as of late. In these lean economic times, those of us here in the real world have been maintaining a budget for most of our lives. Most of us have faced the hard decisions at least once about which bill will get paid on time and which one will have to wait until our next check.

The thing that has puzzled me since I was young teen and started studying how the government works (or doesn’t work), is how WE THE PEOPLE must live by one set of rules and the government and politicians live and operate by a totally different set of rules. We make cuts to our family budgets while the federal (and state) government continues to spend money even after the account is overdrawn. We sacrifice where we take our family on vacation, if we can take a vacation at all, and the politicians will spend tax money on such things as the study of the flatulence of cows and other livestock.

The Obama family cost us taxpayers over $14 million on their Christmas vacation alone. While most of the nation cut the amount presents they purchased for family members, the Obamas lived it up in beach front houses that WE paid the rent on. The Secret Service had to have the adjacent house of course to protect the first family, again, costing US, THE TAXPAYER the cost involved for them to perform their duty. In this $14 million was also room and board for 24 staff members to stay at the Moana Hotel plus an rental office, rental cars, fuel and other things that are required for the secret service to do their job.

A portrait of Marie Antoinette, painted around 1791, by Alexandre Kucharsky.

My colleague recently wrote about Michelle Obama’s trip to Africa. The estimated cost of the trip was $700,000 to $800,000, of taxpayer money. U.S. Embassy Spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau made it clear that the trip was partially a personal pilgrimage for the first lady. If any of us want to take a personal pilgrimage, finding our roots, or any other reason for such a getaway, we have to pay for it out of our own pocket. We do not get the luxury of raiding the coffers of the taxpayers under the guise of “official business”. What about Michelle’s trip to Spain with her daughter and 40 of her closest friends? The vacation to Martha’s Vineyard that cost taxpayers between $35,000 and $50,000? I personally like the way Andrea Tantaros wrote in The New York Daily News deeming Michelle Obama as the “modern-day Marie Antoinette“. It most certainly seems a fitting title considering the expensive habits of Michelle while the taxpayers struggle to make ends meet.

When the money isn’t coming out of your pocket it is easy to go on vacation. For the rest of us we will just have to decide. Vacation? Or, pay the mortgage.

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