President Obama and Mrs. Obama have received some criticism lately for their expensive tastes. The President has been chided about how many rounds of golf he has played and how many vacations he has taken. Mrs. Obama has been compared to Marie Antoinette as a result of her current lavish vacation in Spain. These choices by the President and the First Lady, some argue, suggest that they are out of touch with the difficult circumstances of many Americans.
I don’t begrudge the President and the First Lady a vacation, or vacations. As I have noted before, I don’t think Americans want a President and First Lady who so scrimp and save that it reflects badly on the country. Nobody should expect the First Family to eat macaroni and cheese off paper plates every night or stay at an EconoLodge and take a holiday at a water park.
Still, I would encourage the President and Mrs. Obama to use some judgment and common sense. Millions of people are off work, thousands of homes are going into foreclosure every month, and more than 40 million Americans now are using food stamps. Under such circumstances, a vacation to a posh Spanish resort where rooms cost thousands of dollars and the American taxpayer is footing part of the bill reflects a serious lack of sensitivity and is bound to become a lightning rod for criticism. Would a slightly less expensive vacation to a nice resort in America have been such a horrible sacrifice?