Saturday, September 29, 2012

Is The Obama White House Most Expensive Ever?

Is the Obama White House the most expensive ever? Has it cost the United States taxpayers more than any of his predecessors? In the last few days, this charge has made by author and former Reagan White House loyalist Robert Keith Gray in his latest book, "Presidential Perks Gone Royal", and been seen in the Daily Caller and other conservative leaning websites..

Gray maintains that the Obamas have increased the amount of spending under their time in office to never before seen levels by other Administrations. According to the Daily Caller's Alex Pappas, Gray says, "the amount of money spent on the first family, he argues, has risen tremendously under the Obama administration and needs to be reined in."

The article has several claims worth fact-checking, including the idea that there are thirty-two "czars" now working in this Administration, a claim apparently inspired by Glen Beck's identical charge. has debunked this as well as Politifact

Michelle Obama's staff size also comes under scrutiny by Mr. Gray, who once again uses talk show host Glen Beck as his researcher. Back in February 2011, Beck claimed Michelle Obama had 43 staffers, compared to Nancy Reagan's 3. Once again, Politifact did some digging and found the claim to be inflated dramatically

It's worth noting that Mr. Gray is a long time Republican player who held a job in the Reagan White House as head of his transition team, but later got into trouble for influence peddling, Also interesting is that Mr. Gray is thought to be behind the 2010 charge that the Obama folks were spending upwards of 200 Million dollars a day during a trip to India, a claim widely panned by a handful of media outlets including the Rupert Murdoch owned Wall Street Journal as well as the White House. 

This morning, thanks to Bruce Bartlett (another former member of the Reagan White House), I learn of this article by Little Green which compares the Obama and Bush White House spending. Looking at Bush Administration numbers from Bradley Patterson's book, "To Serve The President," it seems that the Bush White House roughly $1.6 Billion dollars for the year 2008. Which is $200,000,000.00 more than Obama is alleged to have spent. Obama seems to have reduced spending. By a lot. Two hundred million less.

There's no question President's spend a lot of money...a lot of our money. However, the main thrust of the Gray book isn't so much that this spending is out of control and must be reigned in, but more so that the Obama's have taken it to a new level.

It doesn't seem that the evidence backs up Gray's claims. This is, in the end, mostly a political stunt meant to pull the public's eye off the real issues and choices at hand during this last part of the election. Both party's have a long history of behaving like this and its not helpful to sincere voters who are trying to educate themselves on the candidates positions. Its also frustrating when mainstream news organisations like the Daily Caller publish content like this, as it makes them look less like the serious news gathering organisation they claim to be and a lot more like a partisan agent of the Republican Party.



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  2. Reasonable? Really? Politifact constantly gets caught twisting facts and misrepresenting situations to serve their own agendas. And come on, Fact is the spawn of The ANNENBERG Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. How much farther to the left could a supposed "factcheck" group lean. Nice try though.