During the trip by the President through the midwest on a domestic bus tour, there was a little rumbling I heard over the air waves. Well, to be frank it was the rumbling not unlike the bus retrofitted with enough bulletproof glass to repel an RPG attack and enough electronics to commandeer NORAD on-the-fly from a rural road in Illinois. Yes, as the President was on the road for three days touring the midwest shaking hands and buying pies, the GOP and conservative pundits were questioning whether the people should be paying for such a lavish campaign tour. Being that this isn’t a 2012 campaign tour is one thing, but the outrage over the relatively menial cost of the three day trip is what stuck in my craw. They complained on the air on FOX News and other radio stations and channels that the $1.1 million dollar tour bus was too black and too much money. Really? It wasn’t a Black Panther rally and it wasn’t that lavish. You are scoffing at the price of protecting the President? You are balking at what it costs the people to pay, maintain, and protect a President? Well, then read on, as you will be boiling in anger at the numbers that are going to pile up in this article: What does the President really cost us?
My first qualm was with the idea that people had issue with the cost of a tour bus safe enough to protect the President. Do you think they just make those? That is one-off; think Jesse James motorcycle, but with less infidelity. It is a PRESIDENTIAL bus. This isn’t taking your kids to school or dropping Grandma off at the pharmacy. The President of the United States of America needs to be safe from ambush and attack. Do you have any idea what rocket-proof glass costs by the square foot!? All Presidential vehicles are fitted with the thickest, safest glass and sheets of plate steel that can repel everything from small arms fire to RPG’s. A tour bus, straight off the showroom floor, is gonna cost Skid Row at least $500,000, and that doesn’t even include installing the stripper pole. Fuck the pole, the President, realistically, needs the capability to launch nuclear weapons on moments notice from that fucking bus; I hope that button’s not next to the microwave or there is a White House intern that could nuke Moscow for the same trouble he puts into heating a Hot Pocket.
So is $1.1 million of my tax dollars outlandish for a tour bus? Hell no. The President rides around in a fucking bulletproof limo (not a town car, a limo), but I’m supposed to drop a double-take because he upgraded to Billboard Top 40 status? Not a chance. According to some estimates, the cost of operating Air Force One, the Presidential air fortress 747, runs up to almost $300 million dollars a year, flight or no flight. Just to let an airplane sit primed in a hanger 24/7, is costing Americans 13,422 times as much as the federal guideline for a family of four at or below the poverty line of just over $22,000. That’s just the one plane. Not to mention the limo or marine one (helicopter).
Want some more numbers for what the President is entitled to by Congressional decree? Camp David is well-maintained at the cost of $7.9 million dollars per annum. The current President is also entitled to a salary of $400,000 a year. The White House also costs approximately $35,000 a DAY to maintain and run; just the actual building, that is. All told, if you include everything from the Vice Presidential Downtown office, the cleaning crew, the helicopter, Air Force One, employee costs, phone lines, tours daily, and even fucking stamps, the White House and those directly connected to the fucking building in some manner cost us, per year, about $1.5 billion dollars. That is to keep the roof up, the calls answered, and the coffee hot as all get out 24/7, 365. $1.5 billion, and you guys are clamoring to come up with the best joke about the big black bus taking everyone to school in Socialist America? C’mon, I know you guys can do better than that.
Then I got curious. I know that Presidents like George W and Obama make $400,00 base salary, but what else do they get? Well, first off they get $50,000 expense accounts, so I am betting the girls have iPads. They also get a $100,000 tax-free travel expense account. Oddly enough, the President also gets a $19,000 “entertainment” expense account. Entertainment? Almost 20 grand!? What kind of entertainment does that include? Ice cream sundaes for the girls, pedicures for Michelle, and movie nights where George Lucas comes to the White House and does live director’s commentary on a Star Wars flick in the White House Theater like a monkey? You can throw bananas at him, he’s getting paid for this. For that kind of money I know Kennedy had some fun, but what the hell would you do with a near $20,000 dollar entertainment fund? It’s not like it is his personal money he’s spending and is taking a coupon for a free game tokens at Dave & Busters. No, this is a fund of tax payer money set aside simply for entertainment. It is there specifically to make him giggle. I don’t know about you, but at $400,000 dollars a year and hundreds of hours of live, tax-payer funded war footage to watch, he can spend his own Goddamned money to get his jollies off. SHit, the White House HAS a bowling alley, too!
So we’ve got the President, but when the next one comes in, at least we don’t have to think about the cost of the former simply breathing…or do we? Yes, there is the Presidential pensions to contend with. There are four living, former Presidents and each of them gets an annual salary of just shy of $200,000 dollars a year. $200,000 smackaroons goes a long way, even in our tough economic times, and so I got curious, once again. Of the living former Presidents the count goes like this: Jimmy Carter, 6.8 million. George H. Bush, 4.4 million. Bill Clinton, 3.6 million. George W. Bush, 3.6 million. This is what they cost the American tax payer in and out of office in their lives. That is just salary. Of those Presidents; Carter, George H., and Clinton, all have claim to lifetime Secret Service protection. What does this cost us on top of their salary? Given a minimum three-man team earning about $75,000 dollars a year it breaks down as 4.5 million, 4.05 million, and 2.25 million, respectively, to DATE. If they stay alive longer, than it is gonna keep costing you more. After Clinton, all former Presidents are allotted a maximum ten year secret service detail…thank God for government rollbacks.
So what are we saying here? Am I saying that Presidents cost us more per annum than the poverty level income of tens of thousands of Americans? Yes. I am also saying that the cost of protecting the President on a nuclear capable tour bus is little more than a blip of the radar of what they cost us in and out of office in the long run. The White House is a billion dollar house that the founding fathers built, taking office of President is on par with a Megabucks “win for life” scratch-it, and that the expense of protecting the President is a mere pittance of what it costs to employ the 112th Douchebag Congress, all 535 members earning average of $174,000 of YOUR tax paying dollars. Don’t even get me started on that league of assholes. At the cost of over $93 million dollars per annum, these uncompromising assholes have not a leg to stand on to complain about anything but the temperature of their caviar. Do we have a claim to be upset while some go hungry? Indeed, but to criticize the expenditure of a Presidential tour bus codenamed “behemoth” in order to protect the sitting President, I am sure the pundits can find a larger number somewhere other than $1.1 million to gripe about. I found 11 in this article alone.