Thursday, March 7, 2013

I think I just saved the White House Tours!

No need to thank me -- the smiling faces on thousands of kids around the country is thanks enough.  Here's how I did it.

As we all know by now, President Obama came up with this brilliant idea (known as sequester) that he and the Republicans would agree to slow the rate in federal spending (mostly in defense spending, which is why Obama likes the idea) if they could not agree in the meantime on a fiscal deal.  The Republicans thought they would be negotiating over spending cuts, especially to our unsustainable entitlement programs.  But the President fooled them by insisting on tax increases instead.  The Republicans went along with one giant tax increase on January 1, but when the President insisted on a second (apparently monthly) tax increase in February, they balked.  The President kept the pressure on by flying around the country on Air Force One railing against his own sequester idea (and playing golf with Tiger Woods).  But the Republicans called his bluff, and now the rate of growth in federal spending must be slowed.

Well, there's nothing that ticks this President off like slowed federal spending, and now he's mad.  To demonstrate his displeasure at not getting his second tax increase, the Obama administration has been implementing the reduced spending increases (sounds oxymoronic, doesn't it?) in the most painful ways that it can imagine.  Now my impulsive response to these vindictive and petty moves generally is:  "Do your darnedest, Mr. President.  We can take it."  After all, unlike the federal government, I've actually had to cut my spending before (not just slow its growth), so I figured I could stomach any "slowed growth" that the White House could dish out.

Then they canceled the White House tours.  Oh the humanity!  Kids from around the country are finding out that they won't get herded through the executive mansion by volunteer tour guides after all, and all because the mean Republicans won't agree to raise taxes (again).  The initial reaction of some was, "How does eliminating tours by volunteer guides save ANY money?"  The White House was ready for this rhetorical thrust and parried it by explaining that  the Secret Service has to step up security during the tours.  After all, you never know when one of those school kids (some of whom are even HOME SCHOOLED) might be a closet paramilitary commando bent on bringing down the Obama administration.

As it turns out, presidential protection does not come cheap, and ABC News reported that the extra security to make sure that the school kids don't blow up the White House would cost $18K/week.  Yikes!  Frankly, that seems a little high to me, but lets go with it.  I searched high and low to find $18K/week in alternate cuts that would allow the little children to see the White House, and I think I found it.  In fact, it was the President himself who showed me the way.  Remember all that flying around the country on Air Force One fighting his own sequester idea (and playing golf)?  I got to thinking, I wonder how much that costs?  And here's the answer:  Travel on Air Force One costs, wait for it . . . $180,000/hour.  That's right.  One less hour on Air Force One = White House tours for ten weeks.  Five fewer hours pays for the tours for the whole year.  Basically, if the President could find it in his heart to avoid one unnecessary campaign trip on Air Force One (or to spend Christmas in the continental US instead of Hawaii), then all tours can be restored!  You're welcome, kiddies!