Can This Be Possible?

by Andrew C. McCarthy

According to this report from New Delhi TV, President Obama’s trip is to cost taxpayers $200 million per day:

MUMBAI — The US would be spending a whopping $200 million . . . per day on President Barack Obama’s visit to the city.”The huge amount of around $200 million would be spent on security, stay and other aspects of the Presidential visit,” a top official of the Maharashtra Government privy to the arrangements for the high-profile visit said.

It is reported that there will be 3,000 people in the presidential entourage. He’ll be gone nine days and the trip also includes stops in Indonesia, South Korea, and Japan.

The costs of presidential travel are hard to peg because certain details are understandably not made public. But I’ve looked for some comparisons. According to this McClatchy report, President Clinton made a multi-country trip to Asia in 2000. ABC estimated the total cost of the trip (not per day; the whole thing) to be $50 million.

A few questions arise: Can this exorbitant $200M/day price tag be true? How does it stack up against comparable trips by other presidents? And is it really necessary? I’m not suggesting that the president shouldn’t travel. But he’s our representative, not our ruler — and he happens to be a representative notorious for scolding CEOs over their use of of private jets for pleasure trips to Vegas and the Super Bowl. Assuming the reported price tag for the president’s trip is true (and I hope it’s not), is this sort of extravagance really necessary? It seems gross.

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