|America's independent, non-partisan advocate for overburdened taxpayers.||Home | Donate | RSS | Log in|
Today’s Taxpayer News!
Paul Bedard of theWashington Examiner penned this story on President Obama’s travel habits, aided by NTUF’s recent projection that Obama is on pace to become the most internationally-traveled President.
Former Rep. Doug Ose of California is reportedly considering campaigning for the 7th District House seat, a move which has some fiscal groups wary. Ose proposed a net spending increase of more than $65 billion in 2008 (his last year in office) according to the NTUF BillTally report from that year.0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
Which First Lady Flies Highest? Michelle vs. Laura
With the attention Michelle Obama has received for her various trips – and they no doubt have cost taxpayers some significant chunks of change – you might be surprised at the results of National Taxpayers Union Foundation’s (NTUF’s) peek into our two most recent First Ladies’ international travelling habits.
Michelle Obama has already travelled 72 days abroad up to this point. Certainly not an insignificant total, and her first term tally of 55 days abroad is more than President Reagan spent abroad in his first term.
Yet, Michelle’s two-term travel record will almost assuredly fail to keep pace with Laura Bush’s record-setting feat.
The former First Lady racked up a two-term total of 212 days abroad. Her second term included 135 days of international travel, which is more time than her husband, George W. Bush, spent abroad during the same time period!
In fact, if you compare Laura Bush to the Presidents, she is currently the third most internationally traveled of that group, behind Bill Clinton and her husband – though President Obama will likely push her back to fourth in a few years.
Michelle Obama's international travel stats:
And Laura Bush's:
There was not enough data to pursue a second-term projection for Michelle Obama at this time. However, more in-depth analysis on First Lady travel will be featured in a future study.
Mrs. Obama's trip log thus far:
Regardless of their political affiliations, the international travel records of First Ladies present a transparency issue for taxpayers that are separate and distinct from those of Presidents. This is especially true as it appears that more and trips are being taken separately from Presidential spouses. For the time being, however, Mrs. Bush’s list of trips will remain in first place.
Note: Compiled from White House, First Lady’s schedule, and media reports. Because this data and information was collected from a variety of sources, from official White House schedules to media reports, exact time of arrival and departure is not always available and day totals are determined according to the best of the information available. Also, it is possible a First Lady took an additional trip that could be considered international that might not be included.
*Includes the number of days she spent on a personal vacation to Spain
**Up until July 3, 2013
***According to various media reports, Michelle Obama and her two daughters spent their spring break in the Bahamas. The Secret Service and the First Lady’s spokesperson refused to provide any details regarding the trip – the number of days they spent there was not confirmed by official sources; however, according to the media, they arrived around March 24 and left on March 29.
**** Unique countries0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
In examining data from National Taxpayers Union Foundation’s (NTUF’s) study of Presidential travel, “Up in the Air”, there are a number of layers to peel back to reveal the complete picture. The latest, perhaps most significant, aspect of the study is analyzing the habits of second term Presidents – the major finding being they drastically increase their time overseas.
The three modern presidents increased the amount they travelled by over 50 percent. This metric is based on the average increase in foreign travel of the other three “modern” two-term Presidents between their two terms. It does not include Dwight Eisenhower who travelled about 300 percent more in his second term, despite spending less days abroad per trip than any other President NTUF analyzed! The difference in era was too significant to include him.
This projection puts President Obama on pace to very narrowly be the most internationally travelled President with potentially 235 days abroad; compared to Bill Clinton’s 233, George W. Bush’s 215, and Ronald Reagan’s 118.
What trips the President actually ends up going on is impossible to predict beyond this year. If he follows Eisenhower, or Clinton’s lead and drastically increases his travel he would become far and away the most internationally traveled President – if he follows a more conservative direction it’s quite possible he could fall well shy of NTUF’s projection, possibly leaving him behind the most travelled First Lady, Laura Bush (212 days abroad).
Another intriguing finding: if former President George H.W. Bush had received a second-term, he would have been projected to spend 256 days travelling overseas; and he would have likely become the most travelled President, and stayed that way.
President Obama’s start to the year does not have him on pace with his projection yet. With mid-term elections coming up, the President may not focus internationally quite as much as expected. If the President simply repeated his travel from this year, he’d end up with around 104 days abroad in his second term. That would drop him below 200 days abroad, well below George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, as well as Laura Bush.
Taxpayers will have to keep a sharp eye on the President’s travel habits, particularly towards the end of his term, to see where he ends up in the record books. Regardless of exactly where that is, the trend in recent years is clear, more international Presidential travel at a significant cost.0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
Considerations in Criticizing or Praising the Recovery
The Wall Street Journal created this great comparison of the different recessions and resulting recoveries we've been through as an economy. By no means is this a complete picture but indicators like Household Net Worth and Business Investments always need to be considered when addressing government intervention in the economy.
Click on the image to see a larger version.0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
Today’s Taxpayer News!
The Washington Examiner reported that 35 million people will be pushed into poverty in the United States in the next year due to increased biofuel production, which is required by federal law. Mandating increased use of corn for biofuels means less corn on the market for food use - which in turn causes high food prices that can cripple those already struggling.
The National Review recently featured a piece by Deroy Murdock outlining some of the more expensive (and embarrassing) recent failures of the federal government, including some input from NTU’s Pete Sepp on the IRS scandal.
US News and World Report published a piece Friday by NTU’s Pete Sepp, offering common-sense solutions for cutting the defense budget while still promoting a strong national defense.0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
(AUDIO) Speaking of Taxpayers: Independence Day Outrage-cast!
Subscribe to NTU's podcast "Speaking of Taxpayers" via iTunes!
Hope you enjoyed your 4th of July holiday, and this Outrage of the Week highlight show!0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
As this addendum to National Taxpayers Union Foundation’s (NTUF’s) 2013 Study of Presidential Travel is released, President Obama is landing at Andrews Air Force Base and making his way to the White House after an extended trip to the African continent.
The long, near 18 hour, flight back from Tanzania marks the 14th overseas flight the President has taken this year (according to the White House schedule and news reports). These trips rack up costs for taxpayers, and a conservative estimate by NTUF reveals the cost of operating Air Force One internationally this year is now up to at least $15,219,433.
This $15 million-plus price tag is based on the cost per-hour of operating Air Force One alone. It does not include any costs for additional aircraft, staff, refueling, etc.
Estimating the potential costs of additional trips the President has planned for later this year is imprecise. However, applying the median cruise speed of Air Force One to distances for trips to Moscow, Indonesia, and Brunei, we can get an idea of flight times. This would bring the total for President Obama’s 2013 Air Force One costs to over $24 million.
Costs are likely to be higher, not only because our estimated flight times are generously quick, but refueling may be required, and more stops are likely to be added to such significant voyages.
As noted in NTUF’s “Up in the Air” study of Presidential Travel, costs outside of aircraft operation are very difficult to assess. Complete information on staffing, security, food, and more, is unavailable, often due to predictable concerns.
The study revealed President Obama nearly spent as many days abroad as the current single term leader, George H.W. Bush – that, despite focusing for nearly half his term on the longest and most expensive campaign in history.
Taxpayers concerned with transparency can only imagine how large these travel costs truly are, and how far President Obama will travel with no reelection campaign this term.
Air Force 1 cost per flight hour estimate from CRS: $179,750
C-40B cruise speed median: 530MPH
Air Force 1 (VC-25) cruise speed: 575MPH
White House schedule: http://www.whitehouse.gov/schedule/complete/2013-W25
Estimated flight speeds for Boeing C-40B & VC-25: http://www.boeing.com/boeing/defense-space/military/c-40b/
Flight distance: http://www.travelmath.com
Figures are based off of hours devoted to trip from White House schedule multiplied by Cost Per Hour of flying jet. Estimated flight times are based off of distance from travelmath.com and cruise speed of jet.1 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
Today’s Taxpayer News!
Fox23 (from Tulsa, OK) has reported that several 4th Circuit federal judges convened an expensive conference at the luxurious Greenbrier resort this past weekend. As NTU’s Pete Sepp put it, “All kinds of posh amenities, everything a federal judge would want to be pampered with are available there.”
Sen. Max Baucus and Rep. Dave Camp are heading off across the country on a “tax reform tour.” The tour kicks off in Minneapolis on July 8, with other dates to be announced soon. What do you think the prospects are for this effort leading to a tax overhaul?0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
INFOGRAPHIC: NTUF's Presidential Travel Abroad Study
With all of the attention NTUF is getting with our recent paper, Up in the Air: A Study of Presidential Travel and Its Uncertain Costs, we thought that taxpayers would appreciate a boiled-down version of the findings.
A special thanks to our Creative Content Manager, Tim Howland.1 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
Subscribe to NTU's podcast "Speaking of Taxpayers" via iTunes!
In a packed podcast, Mackinac Center's Vincent Vernuccio joins Pete & Doug to talk about union employee rights and National Employee Freedom Week. Plus, NTUF's Michael Tasselmyer talks about the new Presidential Travel Study - and the Outrage of the Week!0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts