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Obama lives high on our dime

Via-The Detroit News

Nolan Finley

On the same night I began hunting for the scraps of paper I'll need for my tax return, President Barack Obama, his wife, kids and a bunch of their buddies were enjoying a live concert of Memphis soul music in a White House now closed to the public because of budget sequestration.

I don't begrudge the president a relaxing evening of entertainment, and live is always better than Memorex.

But as I scrounged through drawers and coat pockets in search of anything that might reduce the size of the check I'm going to write tomorrow, I was acutely aware of how my tax dollars are being used.

Defending my freedom and maintaining the avenues of commerce, no problem.

Feeding the hungry and nursing the sick? All good.

But I draw the line at paying for Justin Timberlake and Queen Latifah to serenade a president who, according to the Obama's tax return released Friday, paid a smaller percentage of his income in federal taxes than I will, while earning a lot more.

The same president whose re-election campaign savaged Mitt Romney for his effective tax rate of roughly 15 percent, paid a rate of just 18 percent himself in 2012. That's about half last year's top tax rate; Obama reduced his tax burden the same way Romney did, with hefty deductions.

Nothing stopped him from paying the 39.6 percent of income he declared in January is the "fair share" for wealthy folks like he and Michelle.

He could have voluntarily foregone his deductions, as the tax code allows, and put his money where his mouth is.

But Obama is not about setting examples.

When the sequester spending cuts kicked in last month, not only were White House tours ended, but the administration warned it would have to curtail food inspections, limit forest fire containment and set free hundreds of immigrants who had sneaked into the country without permission.

Obama took the symbolic step of cutting his own pay by 5 percent, and then he went golfing for the 120th time of his presidency. The administration won't say what it costs in transportation and security for each tee-off, but I'd bet it's more than the $74,000 a week needed to keep the White House open for school group tours.

Estimates of the price tag for Obama's getaway weekend this winter to an exclusive Florida golf resort, where he played with Tiger Woods, are $1 million or more.

All families need vacations.

The Obama family vacations have cost taxpayers more than $20 million, and that doesn't include his jaunt to the Final Four or his daughter's spring break in Mexico, accompanied by a plane load of friends and Secret Service agents.

All this high living on the taxpayer's dime comes at a time when the budget deficit tops $1 trillion, the national debt is reaching toward $17 trillion, and a smaller percentage of Americans are working than when Obama took office.

Which raises the question: How can a president so tone deaf appreciate a live concert?

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