Michelle Obama recently revealed that she and President Obama don’t give Christmas gifts to each other. They merely say, “We’re in Hawaii,” and that’s Christmas gift enough.
But actually the present is from taxpayers, and it’s an expensive one.
The total cost to taxpayers of Obama’s vacations to Hawaii since becoming president is likely in excess of $20 million, and possibly much, much more. During a time of budget deficits that threaten the nation’s security and its future, the Obamas have chosen to maintain a “family tradition” and vacation halfway around the world instead of finding far cheaper alternatives closer to home.
The $20 million figure is based on estimates of the cost of the four Hawaii vacations the Obamas have taken during Christmastime 2009-2012. According to a detailed breakdown by the Hawaii Reporter, the annual excursions in 2009, 2010, and 2011 cost about $4 million, much of it attributable to the expense of taking Air Force One, at an hour rate of about $180,000, on an eighteen-hour roundtrip journey to Honolulu and back.