Michelle Obama: Living in a Tax Loophole?

Michelle Obama has expanded the perks of her Photo: Michelle Obama jaunts the world

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 13, 2012 ― The First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS) is not an elected official. The title doesn’t come with a paycheck. Michelle Obama, however, has turned it into an exercise in imperial excess, spending taxpayers’ dollars as though the Treasury were her cookie jar. 

There was an old radio spot that ran in the South, when I lived there some 20 years ago. The commentary always started with, “Ya know what makes me sick?” That’s probably not a great way to grab a breakfast-time audience, but ya know, I’m almost there with the FLOTUS.

I am simply tired of the First Lady.

First Ladies since Dolly Madison (if not Martha Washington) have made the news and have had a presence around their president-husbands. Still, Michelle Obama has taken being First Lady to depths never before achieved, even by the Hillary Clinton.

Remember when Nancy Reagan outraged the left by buying new White House china - with donated funds? No one then could have imagined the Tim Burton-produced “Mad Hatter” Halloween tea party Mrs. Obama threw for her daughters in the White House, complete with Johnny Depp in costume.

My awareness of her abuse of taxpayer time, money and resources really started just a year and a half ago, when I was coming home from a business engagement in Europe. I was dog-tired, hungry, and not really at my most-charming anyway; but when I found out that JFK was going to be closed for another hour and a half because the FLOTUS was getting her entourage ready to fly home to D.C. after a shopping trip, I felt that little feeling one gets when one realizes that something is burning a hole through one’s stomach lining.

Thousands of people, hundreds of flights delayed, and all because Michelle Obama can’t shop online like the rest of us.

She’s the wife of the President. That makes her … a private citizen. Yes, she needs Secret Service protection, but commandeering a squadron of jets, a gaggle of Secret Service people, friends and advisors, hair and maybe even makeup people, and who knows – babysitters? – for a shopping trip is just not in her job description.

Oh – she doesn’t have a job description? She’s not some kind of official, or constitutional officer, or … anybody?

Lovely and enchanting as our First Ladies tend to be (with some notable exceptions like Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton – don’t write and ask if I’ve gone blind or nuts), they’re accessories to the presidency, and they are not entitled to any pay, benefits or perks beyond those that go to their spouses.

In the real world, business leaders who use their company’s jets are obliged to pay for them. Otherwise, the IRS can disallow the deductions the company takes for their crews, maintenance, repair, etc. Not only that, but the executive who doesn’t reimburse must declare the value of those flights as compensation, and pay tax on them. What makes any First Lady exempt from the law?

Now, remember: Even if she’s campaigning (and she’s always campaigning), the taxpayers aren’t in any way obligated to pay for her trips. If she gets these campaign trips paid for by some PAC, and if she works her sightseeing and shopping somehow into the picture, she may be off the hook for the taxes, but she is still a private citizen and has no right to use government assets for her personal benefit, any more than Mitt Romney could have demanded federal aircraft and Air Force escort for his.

Just to tally up some of her trips, I did a quick Google search. Among some 16 “official” vacation trips in the first three years of her reign (a number mentioned in a FOIA request filed by Judicial Watch and ignored by the White House) that sometimes included family days together, Michelle has been on notorious trips to Aspen (CO), Mexico, South Africa, Botswana, and all over Europe and the US. Her entourage filled a luxury resort hotel in Spain, she took her daughters to the Harry Potter set in Englad for Malia’s birthday (complete with birthday party with cast and crew), and unwilling to wait for her husband to settle some affairs of state, she took a separate plane to Martha’s Vineyard to get a few hour head start on her vacation.

She also took a separate flight to Hawaii for Christmas last year. She obviously doesn’t like waiting around for her husband. 

She’s a millionaire in her own right, and she’s doing all this on taxpayer money!

Am I jealous? Well, in a way; but I’m too busy earning a living to even want so many vacations. Am I sick of the hypocrisy? You bet.

Just remember, as the president seeks to tax the richest people ever more, he’s carved out a loophole for his wealthy wife, who is officially … nobody. 

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

More from Talking Sense
blog comments powered by Disqus
Tim Kern

Tim Kern taught economics for fifteen years, and discovered that understanding life is easy; it’s recognizing reality that takes practice. He holds a music degree, and later earned an MBA in finance from Northwestern University. He has lived across the US, and now makes his home in Anderson, Indiana.

Contact Tim Kern


Please enable pop-ups to use this feature, don't worry you can always turn them off later.

Question of the Day
Photo Galleries
Popular Threads
Powered by Disqus