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CURL: Obama’s 1 percent lifestyle hits a nerve
Question of the Day
President Obama had another tough week in a second term filled with bad news and blunders — and he's only 10 weeks in.
While the White House suddenly decided to drop its budget Friday in an effort to control the news, there was no covering up the disastrous jobless numbers: 90 million Americans out of the workforce, the highest level since 1979; another 663,000 joining the ranks of the long-term unemployed; a measly 88,000 jobs "created."
But what seems stuck in the craw of a lot of you readers out there was last week's column on the Obamas' 1 percent lifestyle — the endless ski and beach vacations for the couple and their daughters, Vice President Joseph R. Biden's nights in London and Paris that cost you more than $1 million, even the president's 118th round of golf while in office.
"My kids asked me a couple of years ago why we never went on family vacations," wrote Steve Gibson. "I told them that we had to pay all of our expenses first and there wasn't any money left over for a family vacation. Then I keep seeing ... stories about the administration taking trips everywhere and I don't know what to think. I have been laid off twice in the past year and am currently in the job search mode again."
Eric Zundell is in the same boat: "As someone who has not been able to afford a vacation for my family in the last 12 years (but pays his taxes ;)), I highly applaud the message delivered by your article."
Ron Kaye agreed that "this is not about the girls, it's about the money, which looks worse and worse every month. But the Obamas don't care what it 'looks' like. They ARE the first family and by G-d they're going to go when and where they want on as many planes as it takes; taxpayers be damned."
Charlene Sanders echoed Mr. Kaye — with a Marie Antoinette twist. "He doesn't give a damn about us. He's the president and by god he's going to do what he wants ... to hell with whatever anybody else thinks. Seems like a 'Let them eat cake' attitude to me."
Tim Mascara was puzzled by the sudden media silence. "I vaguely remember Michael Moore calling Bush out for golf and vacations. Where is the outcry now [for] this guy?"
Barry Kahn juxtaposed the first couple's lavish lifestyle with the president's decision to cancel all White House tours. "Their extravagance boggles my mind. Why is it that they can get away with this stuff? The White House is closed to tours for supposed security reasons and they can globe trot with security in tow and the media says nothing?"
Scott Hord was flat-out disheartened. "I used have to some measure of respect for the Office of the President, regardless of who was in command, but this current President has truly left a bad taste in my mouth."
Jason Lockwood also sounded fed up. "Thanks for pointing out the Obama/Biden high falutin' lifestyle. I'm continually amazed that our country continually allows these narcissistic ***holes to live such lavish lifestyles at the expense of the rest of the hard working 'Joes.' I'm printing off a copy and sending it in with my quarterly payment to the IRS."
Steve Hunt was succinct: "Obama and his wife are grade A hypocrites and no friend of the poor they say they represent."
Yet Johann Ritter took issue with the column: "Aren't you being a little rough on the first family? I mean, if you were running a company that is losing about $114 million an hour, wouldn't you need some really serious vacation time? I would have given up on fixing the problem and find a reason to stay out of the office."
Funny, two days later, Mr. Obama decided to forgo 5 percent of his salary. Coincidence? Of course not. Americans are fed up with the royal lifestyle the Obamas live while they work double shifts to get by. Like Amy Jett.
"People like to say how hard the man works and how he deserves his vacations, blah, blah, blah. Such nonsense only insults hard-working taxpayers all over the country — of which I am one," she wrote. "I am a nurse, mom to a large brood, teacher, wife and caretaker for special needs children. We are just trying to scrape by, while this administration and our politicians have just hiked our taxes and health-care costs up and made life that much harder. We have not been on a single vacation in almost ten years. You know where we go on the few days we take off from work? Doctor's offices is our most constant destination (although with Obamacare even that may have to be somewhat curtailed). We can't afford a vacation. We have to pay a mortgage, hospital bills, car repairs, etc., etc., etc. We have to pay for the Obamas to go on trips, have parties, and so on. And then they pretend to understand our pain while they lecture us about 'shared sacrifice' and 'fairness'? Disgusting."
• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times and is now editor of the Drudge Report. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and @josephcurl.
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