The Big-Spending Obamas

Maybe it’s time for Debtors Anonymous — for the First Family and the nation.

Jim Geraghty
National Review Online

Does President Barack Obama know how much he is spending?

Critics of the president asked that question after he asserted, “Since I’ve been president, federal spending has risen at the lowest pace in nearly 60 years.” (This figure comes from an online article that has been widely debunked because, among other sleights of hand, it interprets modest rates of increase in annual spending as a reduction in the spending, even though the total actual spending under Obama’s watch has been gargantuan.)

But the same question could apply to the president’s personal finances as well, given that the president and Mrs. Obama have spent enough money during their time in the White House to reportedly express anxiety about their personal finances — even as the president earns several million dollars from his book sales and even though the taxpayers cover a portion of the Obamas’ living expenses.

The Obama campaign has been quick to shine a spotlight on symbols of Mitt Romney’s wealth — the fact that he owns a Swiss bank account, the car elevator in his California home. And the media have exhibited a particular fascination with the cost of Ann Romney’s blouse and her expensive enjoyment of horse riding and training.

But President Obama also enjoys the finer things in life: hosting White House dinners that feature $59-per-pound Wagyu steak, hosting fundraisers where guests are treated to quail egg with caviar and salmon ceviche, and enjoying 100 rounds of golf as president. And Michelle knows how to relax in style as well. She and the girls recently got away to attend Beyoncé’s comeback concert….

…The first year of tax returns that the Obamas have disclosed is from 2000, and it shows a joint total income of $240,726. (Adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Price Index, that would be roughly $321,646 today.) Surprisingly, the family’s personal finances in that year were evidently so troubled that Obama had his credit card rejected at the Hertz rent-a-car counter. Obama has told this story several times to emphasize that not long ago, he was “broke.”…

The complete article is at National Review Online.

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