The White House released detailed information about the true cost of the first family’s recent vacation to Hawaii to celebrate the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season. This was in response to various reports that placed the total cost to the taxpayers at several million dollars.
The palatial home that the family stayed in was paid for out of their own private funds. The $3,500 per night residence was considered a bargain in that it was heavily discounted by the leasing firm. White House spokesman Jay Carney confirmed that this was due in no part to a recent investigation of the leasing company being dropped by the Justice Department. He noted that the discounted rate was due to scheduling the trip during the off-season and Michelle using a Hotwire.com coupon code she found on the internet.
When asked about the costs associated with air travel (including repeated trips to and from Washington by the President to deal with the fiscal cliff negotiations) which totaled over a million dollars by some accounts Carney responded. “That is totally ridiculous. What people don’t understand is that the pilots have a certain amount of hours that must be logged each year. If our pilots don’t get this flight-time then they stand a chance of losing their licenses. Therefore, the administration decided that the best way to keep these pilots employed (and therefore boost the economy) was to schedule multiple flights to and from Hawaii.”
“Another benefit of this was that we were able to keep maintenance crews in Hawaii properly trained on the aircraft. Without Air Force One and the various helicopters, cars, trucks, and other vehicles we sent, many of these mechanics most likely would have not been able to work during the slow holiday season. This could have brought undue financial hardship to the families of these maintenance people and probably would have resulted in many of their children starving.”
In addition to saving starving children the administration also touted the economic benefits of trip. Carney noted that the multitude of support personnel on hand for the trip spent hundreds of thousands of dollars with local merchants. One reporter noted that many of these people did not have time to shop due to their need to be on duty around the clock guarding and supporting the first family. Carney quickly noted that this was not the case. “That’s just a bunch of baloney! Already we have seen a marked increase in liquor sales in the area and local prostitutes are reporting some of their best holiday activity ever! And that’s just from the Secret Service staff; I bet if you counted those horny young Marines we would really see some great numbers.”
While the trip was seen by many as an extravagant expense by the first family in a time when the country is still reeling from high unemployment the administration continued to tout the cost-saving measures employed by the President and his family during these troubling times. “Look, this may seem like a costly vacation by some standards,” Carney noted. “But compared to vacations taken by past white presidents and even former candidate and evil rich guy Romney this was pretty much your typical middle class vacation. This is the type of vacation that all Americans should be able to enjoy. However the rich have kept the poor down in this country for so long it was time for the President to prove that even a lower middle class family like his can rise up and put those evil rich people in their place.”
Carney continued noting that while the family enjoyed fresh Maine lobster at least three times a day; this was purchased by the family at discounted rates using GroupOn coupons. Also, shipping costs were virtually nonexistent. The lobster was flown to Hawaii aboard Air Force F-16 fighter jets which were already heading that way on special training missions.
Another cost saving measure employed by the family was to have Secret Service agents perform various household duties while on the trip. Reports indicate that many of the agents were required to clean the vacation residence and also perform serving duties at meals for the family. Carney noted that at no time did this interfere with their regular duties. “We were at a decreased threat level due to the strict gun regulations in Hawaii. By not having to worry about a crazed NRA member with a weapon we were able to productively use the Secret Service in tasks which enriched their professional lives. Already several agents have expressed a desire to help out with White House janitorial and kitchen staff on their return to Washington. Hopefully the American people will back the President’s upcoming gun legislation so that the agents can lead fulfilled lives.
First Lady Michelle also noted that having the agents do manual labor would be a great relationship building effort with the black community. “Most of these agents are of the white race which has been an oppressor for centuries. This trip allowed them to see the other side and learn what it was like to wait on people of color.” According to the First Lady even though they were white, they learned their place quick and followed commands easily.
Carney concluded the press conference by going over the true costs of the trip to further exemplify the cost saving measures put in place by the administration to help the country recover from the fiscal crisis. Based on estimates from the administration and using the discounts applied by extreme couponing; utilizing last minute training orders; carbon credits from Al Gore; use of Obama phones instead of government phone accounts; and white slave labor, Carney was able to announce the true cost of the trip: $84.32 plus gratuity. It is not known if toll charges to and from the airport is included in this figure.