Politics
"Working" in Washington DC. Photo/Creative  Commons - Pete Souza for The Official White House Photostream "Working" in Washington DC. Photo/Creative Commons - Pete Souza for The Official White House Photostream  

How it costs taxpayers $1.4 billion a year to fund the White House

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

A book about presidential perks recently revealed that taxpayers spend about $1.4 billion paying for the staffing, housing, transportation and entertaining of President Barack Obama’s White House.

Now another author, John F. Groom, explains in “The 1.4 Billion Dollar Man: Costs of the Obama White House” exactly how researchers came up with that $1.4 billion estimate.

“One of the most important things to note about the $1.4 billion figure is that it specifically does NOT include the cost of running the White House’s policy operations – the $1.4 billion is money that is directly related to the president and his family,” Groom writes in the book.

Here’s the breakdown, according to Groom:

• President’s salary and allowance: $450,000
• White House building operating expenses: $14,658,000
• White House Grounds: $6,057,000
• Vacations: $20,000,000
• Health care for the first family, including traveling medical staff and equipment: $7,000,000
• Campaign expenses not reimbursed to government: $311,000,000
• White House staff: $7,985,420
• Office of Administration budget: $14,481,000
• Special missions including White House Communications Agency: $161,252,000
• Military salary costs: $153,441,360
• Salary costs for presidential airlift squadron: $75,000,000
• Presidential plane fleet: $44,000,000
• Presidential helicopter fleet: $300,000,000
• Ground transportation: $2,200,000
• Transportation total: $346,200,000
• Secret Service: $259,152,884

“We need to return to the idea of the president as first citizen – a very important person, but not a deity,” Groom says in the book. “He and his administration should run their lives as examples to the nation, with frugality and simplicity, at least until the huge institution they run, the United States government, returns to some degree of solvency.”

Obama is hardly the first president to run up massive expenditures on the taxpayer’s dime. According to a government analysis of the White House’s expenditures under George W. Bush, total spending on White House operations reached nearly $1.6 billion in 2008.

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