Even as the sequester forces furloughs and the cancellation of government services, President Obama has stepped up his taxpayer-funded golf, heading out to the links the last three weekends in a row for rounds of rest, relaxation, and fun.
Obama’s golf, generally played at Joint Base Andrews, requires a 50-minute roundtrip motorcade and stepped up work by the Secret Service – the agency that has been blamed by the White House for canceling the White House tours to save money during the sequesters. Reining in his golf would save some cash and also provide a strong symbolic gesture of empathy for those affected by the sequester.
The president’s own staff will face furloughs. He has said he’ll take a five percent pay cut, but that would delete only $20,000 from the salary of a man who earned $608,000 last year, forcing him to live on $588,000 were he to have the same income this year.
Obama’s golf is entirely for fun. He rarely plays with senior level staffers or members of Congress, choosing instead to play with a few select junior aides who regularly accompany him and presumably don’t give him any serious grief.
With his most recent outing Saturday, the president has already played eight rounds during 2013, the fastest pace in at least two years. In 2011, he didn’t reach his eighth round until May 1, the day he had to cut his game short in order to kill Bin Laden.
During 2012, as he reeled his golf back in to spend more time campaigning, he didn’t play for the eighth time until June 17. Obama drastically cut his golf for the rest of 2012 as well, probably out of concern with the message it sent as he sought to base his campaign on concern for the middle class.
The weather just recently turned warm in Washington, auguring even more golf time for the president. This year’s tally includes winter-time rounds played during vacations in Hawaii and Florida.