BY WARREN HORTON
A dream come true, being President of the United States.
It is the most impressive job on Earth. The work is hard, you make new friends, and best of all, you get to travel. Traveling in style is the only way to go. As president, you get your very own airplane, a VC-25A, known as Air Force One. When the work gets tough and it’s time to take a few days off, then consider flying to sunny Rancho Mirage to hang out with the “buds”, a little golfing, leave the spouse in D.C. and wave at the “peeps”.
It’s all part of being POTUS. Well if you are conscious about spending taxpayer money, then perhaps you may want to check the cost of flying as POTUS. For us low-on-the-totem-pole type people, then coach will be the norm. For a few hundred dollars, fly to the east coast and have some fun.
But wait, here’s the catch. If you’re POTUS, then your security is crucial. So let’s see what it costs to fly from D.C. to Rancho Mirage. The flight one-way is approximately 4 1/2 hours. According to various websites, including www.time.com, AF1 costs approximately $179,000 per hour. Round-trip, that is $1.6 million. Of course you will need the Beast to drive around.
To get it to Rancho Mirage, that takes U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster. Such a deal at $23,811 per hour. So the round trip expense is $214,299. Now if you plan on going over to Los Angeles, obviously you can’t take the Beast, so you hop onto your U.S. Air Force UH-1N Huey helicopter, which was also on board the C-17, at a mere cost of $13,634 per hour. Now the Huey’s maximum speed is about 127 mph, so let’s figure on a cost of $27,268 for a two hour round-trip to have dinner. As a bonus, if your staff numbers greater than 75, then be sure to add in the cost of an additional jet, perhaps the E4B-Flying Headquarters for a reasonable $163,485 per hour.
Now any POTUS must have protection 24/7 and so that figure is constant whether you are in D.C. or jetting around the globe, but where do all the staff stay? Shhhhhhh, that’s a secret unless you stay in Columbia. And there is more. When you come to Rancho Mirage, you might stay at Sunnylands and that way the streets will be blocked off so the locals will have to drive out of their way to get around so you can have peace and quiet. That’s better than Sandals, don’t you think?
But wait, there are still more perks. The word on the street is that the local law enforcement agencies also get to assist the Secret Service to keep all those pesky protesters away, at the expense of the local taxpayers. Is it true that the feds don’t help to pay for additional protection details? Several calls were placed to Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit’s office to answer this very question. The director of communications, Darin Schemmer, advised on Feb. 18, that he could not answer the question but would refer the question to the sheriff’s department. Riverside County Deputy Sheriff Lt. Michael Manning, public information officer, called and advised that the county is not reimbursed for costs associated with providing security to augment federal protection.
So the point is, if you are lucky enough to be elected president, then perhaps you could consider what it costs the hardworking taxpayer every time they look at their paycheck and wonder where their hard-earned money is going to while you are taking a vacation in Rancho Mirage. For the basics, the round-trip price tag is somewhere around $1.84 million. (The prices shown are a few years old, thus with inflation it will probably be a little higher.)
I hope the golfing will be worth it.