• On presidents and vacations
    December 28,2012
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    I must respond to Mr. Ray Pentkowski’s complaint that President Obama and his family vacationing in Hawaii cost $4 million to $5 million. The $4 million figure is the accurate one. This includes the cost of flights, secure housing, security and other support needs for a sitting President. Mr. Pentkowski objects because of the poverty surrounding many people, including my family, in this country. I empathize, but let’s put this into perspective with a few more details.

    The President was born in Hawaii, so it is his home state. The President works very hard and is entitled to a vacation. We are asked to consider what Calvin Coolidge or George Aiken would think. President Coolidge was a Vermonter. Vermont is a long way from Hawaii. George Aiken was a senator from Vermont, not President. Both of these men have been gone a very long time. Costs and threats, indeed the whole world, has changed.

    I would suggest to make this complaint more relative to today, we ask George W. Bush what his costs to Crawford, Texas, were. Just for starters, GWB spent about $20 million just on flights. This does not include the costs of his staffers using Air Force One during the President’s vacations to give the illusion that they were “working” vacations. The costs incurred during GWB’s vacations actually were in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

    For comparison, GW Bush took 180 days of vacation at a comparable time in his presidency. President Obama has spent 61 days. Bill Clinton only took 28 days. I and my family have taken, inside of four years, 21 days at a cost of about $1,500. I am not complaining because I don’t carry the work load of the President.

    Oh, and as of Wednesday, the President was back in Washington working for you.

    GEORGE SIMPSON

    Pittsfield
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