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Taxpayer Bill for Obama’s Hawaii Vacations: $20 Million

Michelle Obama recently revealed that she and President Obama don’t give Christmas gifts to each other. They merely say, “We’re in Hawaii,” and that’s Christmas gift enough.

But actually the present is from taxpayers, and it’s an expensive one.

The total cost to taxpayers of Obama’s vacations to Hawaii since becoming president is likely in excess of $20 million, and possibly much, much more. During a time of budget deficits that threaten the nation’s security and its future, the Obamas have chosen to  maintain a “family tradition” and vacation halfway around the world instead of finding far cheaper alternatives closer to home.

The $20 million figure is based on estimates of the cost of the four Hawaii vacations the Obamas have taken during Christmastime 2009-2012. According to a detailed breakdown by the Hawaii Reporter, the annual excursions in 2009, 2010, and 2011 cost about $4 million, much of it attributable to the expense of taking Air Force One, at an hour rate of about $180,000, on an eighteen-hour roundtrip journey to Honolulu and back.

New Year's Day, 2012
New Year's Day, 2012

But $4 million almost certainly underestimates the true tally, as it does not include many miscellaneous items like the cost of flying advance teams out to Hawaii and separate flights Michelle Obama took in 2010 and 2011, when she left ahead of her husband, who was forced to stay in Washington to finish up work with Congress.

This year, Obama returned from Hawaii to complete a deal on the Fiscal Cliff and then jetted back to Honolulu, where he is now engaged in Part 2 of his vacation. The second roundtrip flight added about $3.24 million to the tab this time, bringing the cost of the 2012-1013 vacation to well over $7 million.

If we assume the estimates are probably quite low, then it’s likely to the bill for the combined vacations is more than $20 million.

Given that much of the cost involves transporting the First Family and its retinue, the Obamas could have saved taxpayers millions by doing what the vast majority of Americans do: taking either one trip a year, or none.

The Obamas get plenty of vacation. They have sojourned every summer in Martha’s Vineyard except for last year, when campaigning and pre-election concern about appearances got in the way. They often take a side trip somewhere else during the year, and Michelle goes skiing annually out West.

At the very least, they could spend their Christmas holidays at Camp David or at one of the many fine resorts outside of Washington, which would require only the use of the presidential helicopter to get them there.

If they must find a warm haven, a rental home on the Gulf Coast, the Atlantic shore of Florida, or even Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands could easily be arranged at a fraction of the price of getting to Hawaii.

Some argue that Obama is justified in returning to Hawaii because that is where he spent his formative years. But how many of us get to go visit our roots for a two week vacation every year?

The Obamas probably also feel they must go to Hawaii because they are creatures of habit. While there, they do the same things and visit the same places every year. But their allegiance to routine is costing the taxpayers – including those in the middle class Obama claims to care so much about – millions of dollars.

Which brings us to OBAMA 5-0.

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784 Responses to Taxpayer Bill for Obama’s Hawaii Vacations: $20 Million

  1. Where is it written we have to pay for the Grifters’ vacay?

    I always thought POTUS and family were responsible for their own personal expenses, including daily food.

    Laura Bush said she even had to pay to have her hair blow- dried.

  2. Holy Smokes! Sick of photo ops, unemployment 7.7%, fuel cost over $3.00, tax increase on paychecks, Affordable Health Act more out of paycheck and this BUM is laying on the beach at the exspence of the tax payers? What is wrong with this picture?

  3. My question is this…has anyone checked to see if and how often the Obama’s went to their “hometown” of Hawaii for Christmas before Obama was elected President?

  4. I don’t care how many of these vacations he takes as long as we tally up the cost and then 1099 him for them. Make him pay income taxes on it.

  5. …why is everybody surprised. Hes just rubbing it in the face of the great white supressor. Besides, his kind of behavior is typically predictable…

    …wise up you jerks…

  6. One apparent side benefit of Obama returning to Hawaii this time: He was (for a change) actually on time for his brief “victory speech” Tuesday night. When he’s got a plane to Hawaii to catch, he figures out how to read a clock. Other times, the words “beginning shortly” are permanently burned into the White House streaming site for his speeches.

  7. Ugh…the arrogance of Obama seems to have no bounds. It seems that they think we OWE it to them. And to them I say, “remember Marie Antoinette…her attitude and what happened to her”.

  8. It’s convenient to say “Obama spent $20 million on vacations.” In reality, however, the cost of maintaining and operating the fleet of VC-25s and support craft are fairly well fixed. The flight crews, ground crews, and support crews are all salaried professionals, so whether they’re on the ground or in the air, they’re paid. There are a couple of unmarked VC-25s that AF1 pilots use to train, and they’re in the air a lot. On average it costs about $180 million a year for the Air Force One fleet, so a few million on a flight to Hawaii is but a very small percentage of a fixed expenditure. Makes for an easy target, but it’s not an honest look at the situation.

    • the unmarked VC-25’s are also assigned other missions and on board support equipment is not close to the 2 marked VC-25’s. So their cost per hours is going to be allot lower.

    • Except that charging personal vacations on the public dime violates the Constitution (not that that every stopped him before). According to the seventh paragraph, Section 1, Article II of The Constitution of the United States of America:

      “The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.” (Bold emphasis mine)

  9. I’m hoping to take a vacation here soon. It will probably be about 25miles away in a dirt hole with a camp fire. It’s about all I can afford and now with the payroll tax cut not being extended it will probably be a small fire.

    I hope the king and queen enjoy their vacation at our expense. I know how difficult it must be to even consider cutting back or at least leading by example on fiscal responsibility. We wouldn’t want you to have to cut back on things like the rest of us. I am also a creature of habit but this fiscal mess has forced me to do it.

  10. Why no story about the United States taxpayers sending over 8 MILLION to Israel…EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. That is 3 BILLION per year. Why don’t you people care about that ? All of Obama’s vacations would be payed for with less than 3 days of our handouts to Israel.

  11. It’s time for a method to be put in place that gives Congress the authority to curb spending for personal reasons by the resident of the White House. How many vacations did the Jeffersons, oops, Obamas take to Hawaii before they hit the tax-payer funded, unlimited credit limit lottery? ZERO! It’s time to stop the insanity!

  12. Where did Gunner go after receiving the news that Obama’s $20m+ Hawaiian vacations (that figure is just for Hawaii–not all the other vacations the Obama’s have taken at taxpayer expense) are not GWB’s fault?

  13. Can we just get our plane back and leave all of the useless “baggage” over there?
    Perhaps Obama could run for supreme surfer bum or pineapple picker in chief.

  14. Salary is $400,000 a year plus a $50,000 expense account, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and $19,000 for entertainment.

    Why are the obama’s entitled to another expensive vacation at OUR expense? They should be responsible for paying for their own vacations! Our country is broke but these people continue to splurge on borrowed money! They are heartless and selfish. Twenty million would have fed a lot of hungry people!

  15. The fact is, no one has/can accurately estimate the cost of an hours travel on Air Force One. The costs given are for fuel alone and do not take into account the hourly costs to operate the Andrews AFB runway (security, weather, operations, public affairs for media, protocol, etc.) the AF One presidential hangar (security, maintenance, flight crew, fuel specialists, etc.). The $180,000 also does not take into consideration the costs for the 24/7 security, operations, protocol, fuels, weather, public affairs, etc., at Pearl Harbor/Hickam AFB for the men and women in the military whose own Christmas vacations are sidelined because the Obamas choose to fly there instead of remaining in D.C. Finally, the presidential aircrew and the Secret Service, etc., must stay locally in Hawaii during the vacation, so be sure to add in those costs. The per diem rate per day in Hawaii is $303 PER person.

    • Lynda,

      the Pentagon has put in writing that AF1 cost per hr is 179,000.. to 181,000.00. Google it. Also look at other posts showing outside news agencies confirming this.

      As per DOD written regulations the cost per hour also includes fuel, maintenance program and authorized crew costs. The 187th Wing’s budget absorbs the cost of the hangers, ground support personnel, yellow gear, addition security, etc. They also receive additional money from other agencies for the extra security. The also split the cost with all tenants of Joint Base Andrews for maintaining the runways 24/7.

      The assigned AF One aircrew are on 24/7 notice when away from Andrews, if they are told to be airborne / wheels up in 30 min it can happen anywhere any time. So their close to the aircraft. The SS detail(s) are also close to the aircraft as well as the family members. The lowest / highest military Per Diem for Hawaii is 202.00 / 404.00 per person (as per the JFTR – Joint Federal Travel Regulations). However these amounts can be waved at anytime upon request (and have been routinely for Presidential Ops). The SS and other govt civilian agencies are governed by the FTR.

  16. to just be fair and balanced…

    THE FAMILY TRADITION did not become tradition until the taxpayer began paying for his trips…how many times did the obama family visit Hawaii before he became president??
    will be interesting to see how often they return when they have to foot the ENTIRE cost…

    we are living in a sad time today…America as we knew it is now gone…I weep for the Nation we have lost…

    • so do I, I left my land to come here and be free and now we are going back to what I left behind. You think you are sad???? I am sick with sadness.

  17. This Hawaii vacation ploy is the same as what the Clinton’s did when Bill was Prez. They pick places that will keep the media happy. Bill and Hillary would always go to Martha’s Vineyard. Who would want to go to Arkansas or Chicago for vacation? No one. Look how the media complained when they had to go to hot, boring Texas for the Bushs’ vacations.

  18. Publish these numbers all you want…eventually people will finally realize that Obama and his family DO NOT CARE about the taxpayers or how much money they cost them.
    It’s really very simple…they DO NOT CARE!!!

  19. With every blink of an eye,with every sunrise and every sunset, Obama makes me sick. He actually makes me both physically ill and mentally ill. I am serious.

  20. I think a more appropiate place for him to vacation is Leavenworth Prison. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper, and for the crimes he has committed, it would be a perfect vacation hot spot for this Chicago Thug.

  21. So sad that for years we Americans have elected into office at all levels leaders that wrote and passed laws that violated the constitution. They also put in judges like Roberts who uphold laws that are unconstitutional. No we have a system that fails to protect the American citizens vote. They have open many doors for fraud and illegal votes. Our failure has resulted in lose of liberty. If we had done what we were suppose to do by voting and kicking out any elected official who didn’t follow the constitution we would not have Obama in office. Now we bitch about him (rightfully so) but in the long run every American citizen is responsible for our government. Now it is way pass the cliff…we are speeding toward the bottem.

  22. “The Obamas probably also feel they must go to Hawaii because they are creatures of habit.”

    The “habit” started after O won the primary. There were no annual luxury visits to Hawaii prior to that.

  23. Why are we paying for this for any president. I have to pay for my own and if the funds are not available, then there is no vacation. Which by the way is a strong probability after the fiscal cliff BS. Just saying!!

  24. Hey, I only get 1 vacation per year and I have to pay for it myself. I think the people should start a petition that calls for congress to pass a law that would limit a president to 1 taxpayer paid vacation per year and limit the dollar amount to $10 million. Any amount over that or extra vacations would not be paid by taxpayer money. Obama has spent way more than his fair share of our money for his entertainment. He needs to figure out have to save US money instead of spending it. Call or write your senators and representatives and let them know it really is time for a change.

  25. Everyone stop paying taxes ! This is how our hard earned money is being wasted ! If we stop paying taxes, the Federal Government will shut down, then we can fire all the employees and replace them with people who actually care about this Country. We can stop payments to all the countries that hate us, kick the UN out of New York, start drilling for oil on our own land, get rid of the IRS and make a simplified tax code. We will have all the money we need to flurish. We just need to get the corrupt politicians out of washington, and stop the special interest groups from corrupting them.