Taxpayers are paying for President Obama’s re-election campaigning and unfortunately it’s all legal.
Two weeks ago the president flew to Chicago on Air Force One specifically for an evening of fundraisers. U.S. law only requires him to repay the government for the cost of a first-class ticket on a commercial airline. We have to protect our president, so he cannot fly commercial. But do you realize all that is included in a simple presidential journey?
Of course, there is the cost of Air Force One. There is also a duplicate plane that flies as a decoy, doubling fuel and pilot/co-pilot costs. A military cargo plane heads to a location ahead of the president, carrying his bullet-proof vehicle and vehicles for Secret Service agents.
Last week, the president made a swing through California and Nevada. The stated purpose of the trip was to promote his budget plan. But there was a definite element of campaigning, so he should at least reimburse the taxpayers as currently required by law. While his speeches did not use the words “elect me”, he made comments clearly aimed at putting his past actions in a positive light, which has nothing to do with the current budget battle.
“How many people here know that not only did we cut your taxes when I first came into office, but back in December we just cut your taxes again? You wouldn’t know it from watching TV, you would think I’m just raising everybody’s taxes.” *
[Side note: He did not cut taxes in December. He made a deal with the Republicans to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, which means he kept our taxes the same.]
Given President Obama’s strong commitment to cutting our use of petroleum-based fuels, why he doesn’t use teleconferencing to speak with his supporters? Certainly current technology can easily handle this. Save the planet, and save the taxpayers a huge amount of money.
And a suggestion:
We need campaign finance reform, but not necessarily concerning lobbyists and other areas about which politicians keep complaining. The president’s recent fundraising trip was more than a year ahead of the election. I believe there should be federal regulations prohibiting any taxpayer funds/equipment/services being used in campaigns before a certain point before an election. (I would say not more than one year, but public opinion and lawmakers could determine that.) This would include the cost of Secret Service protection for non-incumbent candidates. It would also make sense to have similar regulations for Congressional elections.
Our government provides each American with the freedom to support any candidate they choose. It is also an individual’s choice not to support anyone. We should not be forced by current laws and regulations to subsidize the campaign of an incumbent presidential candidate.
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* comments by Pres. Obama in Reno, Nevada. Reno Gazette-Journal, April 24, 2011