Defund Air Force One

An idea which makes me envious. I wish I thought of it. What supporter of democracy could disagree? Imerialists or aristocrats, sure. But democrats….

1000 Words /

Ever since I was a child, I have wondered why the President of the United States gets to fly around on a modified 747 at everyone else’s expense. Now — thanks to the power of social media and, well, Ricochet — I get to try and do something about it. Below is my petition to be sent to Hal Rogers and Speaker Ryan. Let’s get some signatures.

The Congress of the United States should immediately cut funding to the Executive Branch for the purpose of operating Air Force One. The nation’s chief executive already occupies a home owned and paid for by the Nation’s taxpayers and has numerous perks that come as part and parcel of that position. Presidents also have access to various facilities not open to the public such as Camp David that are set aside for their recreational use. What presidents do not require is the world’s largest private jet, to be flown around the country on vacations or campaign and fundraising junkets at the cost of nearly a quarter million dollars per hour. The federal government would consider the use of such a convenience to be an in-kind contribution to a campaign if it were offered to a candidate from an outside source.

The total expenditure at taxpayer expense over the course of these jets’ existence is obscene, and an insult to the people who work and pay taxes.

If the president needs to travel the country, let him take AMTRAK or charter a plane with his own or his campaign’s funds – but not the taxpayers’. With a nation that is approaching $20 trillion in debt, Congress should make this change to let taxpayers know that they and other government officials are not above the law and understand the dire necessity of beginning to put the nation’s fiscal house in order.

Travel for the purpose of statecraft could similarly be accomplished more cheaply through military or domestic charter and should require that Congress pass legislation to authorize that expenditure upon request from the executive branch.



2 comments on “Defund Air Force One

  1. Dan says:

    I take issue with the fund raising portion of the use, though the GOP and the DNC get a bill for that, they don’t cover all. Of course, usually they try to have it coincide with matters of state, but there are exceptions, and exception or no, the political parties involved should be footing more of the bill.

    As for the rest? No. A President’s vacations are working ones, and Camp David is certainly the most common. Our President may be the leader of our country, but he and his family are also our most public ambassadors. They are required to kiss babies, meet the People, make statements and raise awareness across the country- and sometimes they have to do it right now. For four to eight years, the President is America’s whipping boy. We trot him and his family out for all the world to see and scrutinize, twenty four hours a day. At least in Britain, the Royal Family also get to be very wealthy land owners in exchange for zero privacy and public pillory. So no, I don’t view the use of Air Force as the egregious expense it’s portrayed as in that gentleman’s petition, though we could certainly do better. And honestly, if I want the President to do my bidding wherever I want him in the nation, I want it at 600 miles an hour, not 60.

    • feralplum says:

      I used to believe that. Then I noticed the President and the First Lady taking different Air Force Ones to the same place four hours apart. Almost all of the trips are fundraisers. The President requires security and communications, not Imperial luxury. There is something obscene about an elected citizen requiring such opulence while speaking about income inequality. Also, he has an entire air force.Security, transportation, speed, and communications? Take a B-1b, or a C-17, or one of hundreds of aircraft.

      If the argument is to portray him as a superman or a god to sway foreigners, then why use it domestically. If we wish to sway and hector foreign leaders, try a B-2 bomber. If we wish to promote democracy, why spent $350,000 per hour. If the argument is speed, we have faster craft. Heavens! Look at the specs on the Sabreliner Jet.We have hundreds of them.

      No, Air Force One is used to display conspicuous wealth. Such is not appropriate inside the nation. The Romans used to have a slave whisper to the Emperor,’Thou art but a man’ during triumphs. It is less democratic even than Nero to imply ‘Thou art a god’ to a mere elected official in something more opulent than a golden chariot. I am not a monarchist.

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