American Feudalism – Obama Travels to Brussels with a 900 Person Entourage

Earlier this week, U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Brussels for the E.U. summit, but he was not alone. In fact, he is reported to have traveled with an entourage of 900 people, no doubt leaving a gaping expense for U.S. taxpayers. Brussels itself also took at major hit, with the city spending over $10 million on security compared to the usual expense of roughly $700,000 for E.U. summits.

Of course feudal trips are nothing new to 21st Century American Presidents. As The Washington Post notes, George W. Bush took 700 people with him on a trip to London in 2003.

Oh, and if you think these trips don’t cost much, let’s not forget that the Obama family trip to sub-Saharan Africa was projected to cost the U.S. government anywhere from $60 million to $100 million.

From The Washington Post:

As President Obama and his entourage, which The Guardian estimated at 900 people, arrived in Brussels for the E.U. summit Tuesday, the Belgian capital braced for the significant expense of hosting him.

Brussels mayor Yvan Mayeur told The Guardian his city will spend $10.4 million to ensure Obama’s security during the president’s 24-hour visit. Hosting an E.U. summit typically costs the city about €500,000 ($690,000), the newspaper reports. “But this time round, you can multiply that figure by 20,” Mayeur said.

Obama’s security needs are not unique. When his predecessor, President George W. Bush, traveled abroad, he didn’t pack light. In November 2003, just months after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Bush brought 700 people with him on a visit to London, which The Guardian at the time described as “worthy of a travelling medieval monarch.” The British government expected to spend around £5 million to protect Bush over his four-day London stay.

Not only do these trips require host cities to shell out considerable capital, they also come at a hefty price to American taxpayers. The Washington Post reported in June 2013 that the Obama family trip to sub-Saharan Africa was projected to cost the U.S. government anywhere from $60 million to $100 million.

Meanwhile, still barely a peep can be heard from the peasants.

Full article here

Michael Krieger

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  1. how much do you think this ongoing feudal arrangement has cost the taxpayer?

    quid pro “status” quo…..

    I’d Rather See Bernanke’s Meeting Schedule That’s Not Reported

    It was widely reported the other day when Bernanke gave a speech in Abu Dhabi for which he was paid $250,000. And someone sent me an article today reporting that Bernanke will conduct a meeting with 8 hedge fund titans for another $250k plus he will be doing a speech in Turkey for $300k (article link). At least now we know why Bernanke took the Fed-head job rather than remain in his cushy ivory tower at Princeton. Now Bernanke can afford to enjoy the same luxuries as do the Wall Street his money printing and bailout policies enriched.

    But I would be much more interested in seeing Bernanke’s meeting schedule that does not get reported. I know Greenspan had one that would surprise all of you. One of my best friends in NYC, Jerry Epstein (now deceased from diabetes), was a top-notch chef who did many gigs with very wealthy people. He chef’d for people like Carl Icahn, Michael Steinhardt, Mickey Drexler (J Crew/GAP) and Doris Duke. Around the time Greenspan retired from the Fed, Jerry was Steven Cohen’s personal chef. About two weeks after Greenspan left the Fed, Jerry called me to tell me that he was preparing a meal for Greenspan, who was having lunch with Cohen at his residence in Westchester (his home was in Westchester, his office was Stamford, Connecticut). While I got the details Jerry’s menu, I would have been more interested in the menu of what would be discussed.

    I bring this up because, while Bernanke’s visible speaking engagements are actively reported, I can guarantee you that he is conducting very private, non-disclosed meetings for which I’m sure he’s paid much higher “consulting fees” than his publicly announced speech compensation. After all, how many of you heard about Greenspan’s one-on-one luncheon meeting with Steven Cohen? It’s not the news you see that should bother you, it’s the news that doesn’t get reported that is most dangerous.

  2. A Nation of Takers?

    In the debate about poverty, critics argue that government assistance saps initiative and is unaffordable. After exploring the issue, I must concede that the critics have a point. Here are five public welfare programs that are wasteful and turning us into a nation of “takers.”

    You see where I’m going. We talk about the unsustainability of government benefit programs and the deleterious effects these can have on human behavior, and these are real issues. Well-meaning programs for supporting single moms can create perverse incentives not to marry, or aid meant for a needy child may be misused to buy drugs. Let’s acknowledge that helping people is a complex, uncertain and imperfect struggle.

    But, perhaps because we now have the wealthiest Congress in history, the first in which a majority of members are millionaires, we have a one-sided discussion demanding cuts only in public assistance to the poor, while ignoring public assistance to the rich. And a one-sided discussion leads to a one-sided and myopic policy.

    We’re cutting one kind of subsidized food — food stamps — at a time when Gallup finds that almost one-fifth of American families struggled in 2013 to afford food. Meanwhile, we ignore more than $12 billion annually in tax subsidies for corporate meals and entertainment.

    Sure, food stamps are occasionally misused, but anyone familiar with business knows that the abuse of food subsidies is far greater in the corporate suite. Every time an executive wines and dines a hot date on the corporate dime, the average taxpayer helps foot the bill.

    So let’s get real. To stem abuses, the first target shouldn’t be those avaricious infants in nutrition programs but tycoons in their subsidized Gulfstreams.

  3. This is scandalous. It is even ridiculous. Obama and his entourage, for the very little he is bringing to Europe except scandal, idiotic ramblings and a push for war, war and more war should have stayed at home and used the money for better purposes. It goes beyond insult to a very hard slap on the face of all those suffering in the United Stasi of Amerika. While 60 MILLION Americans live in poverty, Obama is living ‘high off the hog’!! Disgusting.

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