The President’s Coming to Town on Your Dime

Main St. Agenda by from Zócalo Public Square, June 14, 2014

The typical five-hour flight from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles costs anywhere from $300 to $500. This weekend, President Obama will be making that trip to deliver a commencement speech at UC Irvine—and attend a fundraising event in Laguna Beach ahead of the November midterm elections. He’ll be flying in a much fancier plane, of course, and there probably won’t be any crying baby or businessman snoring loudly in seat 37B. But another major difference? The president’s flight will cost you and me, and taxpayers all across America, about $228,000. Per hour.

The 10-hour round-trip total comes in at nearly $2.3 million, and that’s just the operating cost of Air Force One. It doesn’t account for the additional planes the President might require for his armored limousines, his Secret Service protection, their lodging and meals, or the support costs for his entourage of White House staffers coming along for the ride. There are also considerable expenses in terms of both time and money that the Southland cities he visits and passes through will incur by cordoning off streets and snarling traffic. In short, taxpayers will spend millions of dollars in order to allow the President to raise thousands of dollars.

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Photo credit: White House photo by Pete Souza, via Wikimedia Commons