Written by Norvell Rose
America’s first lady has never been known as a frugal lady. Michelle Obama’s spending habits — lavish spending that relies on U.S. taxpayers’ generous giving — have frequently been the subject of criticism, especially when the tab for Mrs. Obama’s vacations is delivered to…you know who.
While some of the first lady’s trips have been called “official visits,” many critics still consider them rather glorious getaways because of their reported extravagance befitting an international celebrity with a love of the good life.
For instance, as The Daily Caller noted in April of last year, Michelle’s short trip to Ireland with her two daughters and their entourage set the government (taxpayers) back nearly $8 million, including more than $7.5 million in flights.
Plus, “the total cost for ‘security and/or other services’ for a side trip to Dublin by Michelle Obama and her entourage was $251,161.86. That total included $55,004.85 spent at the Shelbourne Hotel and $70,855.44 at the Westbury Hotel.”
Of course, when the president tags along, one can understand the price tag for a really, really good time might plump up a bit, especially for air travel aboard those big, expensive government planes.
Again, as DC watchdogs revealed via The Daily Caller, there were “the $1,164,268.60 in flight expenses for the first family’s vacation to Martha’s Vineyard in 2013, the $8,104,224 in flight expenses for their 2013 official trip to Africa and $7,781,361.30 for their 2013-2014 Christmas vacation to Honolulu.”
So, considering the Obamas’ track record for freely spending public money on private enjoyment — or, generously speaking, semi-public PR appearances — the sticker shock for a just-disclosed expense might not be all that jolting.
The Washington Free Beacon reveals that First Lady Michelle Obama’s current trip to Japan includes a visit to a sacred site called Fushimi Inari Sinto, a shrine dedicated to a god of rice. Rice, of course, is extremely important in the Japanese diet; so Mrs. Obama’s checking out the god of that staple would seem, well, diplomatic.
Also in the Japanese city of Kyoto, Mrs. Obama is stopping by a Buddhist Temple and greeting staff from a U.S. consulate. According to a government contract for ground transportation for the first lady, reports the Free Beacon, taxpayers will be hit for a cool $78,741.00 to see to it that Mrs. Obama and her crew are able to get around for all those appearances.
Yes, Michelle’s official fleet of rental cars for her Kyoto excursion is costing nearly $80,000.00.
So that the American people understand that this is more than a pure pleasure trip for the globe-trotting first lady, the White House is quick to point out that Mrs. Obama is in Japan promoting an educational initiative called “Let Girls Learn.”
Naturally, one is inclined to wonder if that learning includes a course on traveling on a budget…or possibly secrets of enjoying a luxury getaway while somebody else pays for it.
SOURCE: Western Journalism
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