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Monday, December 3, 2012


I don't know why they need any trees; they won't even be in the White House for the holidays.
They're leaving for a three week Hawaii vacation on the 17th of December; taxpayer funded, of course.
I know, he needs some time off.  It's not easy turning the most successful nation in history into a failure.
It's hard work.

Fiscal cliff?  What fiscal cliff?  Who cares?

~ J

As Americans face a fiscal cliff, the Obamas make do with 54 Christmas trees

Jewel Samad / AFP / Getty Images (2011)
Jewel Samad / AFP / Getty Images (2011)
Amazing how a reelection can reshape an incumbent's thinking about many things. Now safely ensconced in the White House for 49 more months, the Obamas have decorated the place with 54 Christmas trees this year.
Even allowing for the usual Washington excesses with taxpayer money, that's a whole grove of Christmas trees.
"We have 54 trees in the White House," an excited Michelle Obama proudly told visitors the other day. "54!  That’s a lot of trees."
In fact, the Obamas' 54 trees this year are almost 50% more Christmas trees than last year. That was during the campaign before Obama whispered a reminder to the Russians that he had to be careful until Nov. 6, when a victory would give him more "flexibility."
Now, how much carbon do you suppose those 54 trees could be sequestering had they not been chopped by this green president?
And no wonder Obama talked over the weekend about addressing tax increases before any of that annoying business about cutting spending to address this thing called the national debt, now having soared past $16.3 trillion..
In addition to 54 Christmas trees, Michelle Obama has overseen the placement of thousands of ornaments in public rooms. Many of the ornaments celebrate the Obama family dog, Bo, who seems to have become the First Family's favorite symbol of Christmas. Other decorations, including on the more prominent trees, were made by children in schools on U.S. military bases.
There's several hundred yards of garlands and wreaths all over the hallways and rooms. And, of course, a traditional gingerbread house that has working chandeliers and weighs about 300 pounds.
Last year, according to Mrs. Obama, some 90,000 visitors viewed her White House decorations. The irony is this year the main residents of the White House won't be there for most of the holiday period and for both major holidays.
According to notices distributed to residents of an exclusive waterfront neighborhood in Hawaii, they can expect to enjoy restricted access and other inconveniences to their homes and normal lives from Dec. 17 through Jan. 6. That's about a 50% longer holiday vacation than last year.
The inconveniences stem from security requirements for the vacationing Obamas and a large number of their accompanying friends. Obama's staff will have to put up with rooms in a nearby luxury hotel.
The Coast Guard will be patrolling surrounding canals. Navy SEALs will be doing whatever SEALs do on security detail. The Secret Service and local police will man numerous area roadblocks and perhaps even some bushes.
Steven Senne / AP
Steven Senne / AP View Enlarged Image
The estimated costs to taxpayers of this latest vacation foray is in excess of $4 million. The largest single expense is Obama's 747 jet, Air Force One, which runs about $182,000 per flight hour. It's a nine-hour journey, each way, between Washington and Honolulu. That's about $1,638,000 one-way. Their bags fly free.
Those transportation totals do not include the costs of Air Force cargo planes to haul the fleet of armored cars to the island and back, so the Obamas can visit Hawaii friends, beaches and restaurants. And so the president can get to a nearby Marine base for his morning workouts and to various golf courses with friends.
Besides covering the Christmas and New Year holidays, Obama's vacation dates also strangely coincide with what was expected to be the peak negotiating window for Obama and congressional Democrats and Republicans to address the so-called fiscal cliff. Until recently the cliff has been described as something of a financial doomsday, albeit one that Obama and Capitol Hill protagonists set for themselves.
These are automatic combined tax hikes and drastic additional budget cuts, mainly to defense, scheduled to occur in the first hours of January, the product of similar last-minute negotiations two years ago.
So far, according to both sides, the talks have not progressed well. The president, who took yesterday off to play golf, may be confident of complete success in the remaining 14 days.
Or perhaps Obama will leave Joe Biden in charge of closing the deal, since the vice president's oversight of the $800 billion stimulus spending so effectively spurred the economy.

Read More At IBD:

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