The People Desired a King Over Them -Ether 6:22

One of my more worldly indulgences is picking up a People Magazine every so often at the doctor’s offices where I enjoy a few frivolous empty-headed moments reading about the lives and loves of various celebrities. My rather harmless habit has been with me for the last (ahem) 30+ years, and I admit I am a British Royal Watcher. Occasionally a fleeting thought came to mind that the royals cost the people of Great Britain an enormous amount of money, and was it really worth it?

And A big Mazel Tov to Prince WIlliam and Duchess Kate on their blessed event! photo from Mirror News

What I was shocked to discover this week, was the cost numbering 16 or so individuals and in some cases their dependents, who earn a salary from the British government, is quite a big less compared to what the US government pays  President Obama and his 3 dependents.  According to this article in The Daily Caller, referencing author Robert Keith Gray in his new book “Presidential Perks Gone Royal” past presidents have enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, but the Obama presidency has especially taken advantage of the American people. Last year the Obama family of 4 cost the American taxpayers a whopping 1.4 billion! The British royal family of 16 or so individuals/families living in numerous drafty big old estates/castles cost the British taxpayers £36.million/$76.77million.  Considering the state of our economy, I am disappointed the Obamas have not set an example of frugality. Considering they expect wealthy Americans to sacrifice by paying higher taxes, the Obamas should follow suit and trim their budget.

from Red Log Blog


One of the big expenditures of the Obama presidency is:

“the biggest staff in history at the highest wages ever,” a 50 percent increase in the numbers of appointed czars and an Air Force One “running with the frequency of a scheduled air line.”

The president’s wages are $400,000, with an additional yearly $50,000  expense account,   a $100,000 travel account, a $19,000 entertainment budget, an additional miscellaneous account of $1 million, of the $1.4 billion.

Also included is:

In contrast the Royal Houses of Europe have reduced their costs in response to the global financial crisis.
While I may enjoy news on the British Royals, I recognize the wisdom in our American democratic system, and I personally do not desire a monarchy. It seems to me that we Americans, have indeed chosen a King and are paying dearly for the privilege of our American version of a royal family.
Your thoughts dear reader? Inquiring minds want to know.



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About JA Benson

Joanna entered the world as a BYU baby. Continuing family tradition, she graduated BYU with a degree in Elementary Education and taught for several years. Growing up in Salt Lake County, her favorite childhood hobbies were visiting cemeteries and eavesdropping on adult conversations. Her ancestral DNA is multi-ethnic and she is Mormon pioneer stock on every familial line. Joanna resides in the Southeastern USA with her five children ranging in age from 8 to 24. Her husband passed away in 2009. She is an avid reader and a student of history. Her current intellectual obsession is Sephardic Jewish history, influence and genealogy. She served as a board member for her local chapter of Families with Children from China. She is the author of “DNA Mormons?” Summer Sunstone 2007 and “Becoming Hong Mei`s Mother” in the Winter Sunstone 2009

25 thoughts on “The People Desired a King Over Them -Ether 6:22

  1. Joanna, to be fair, you need to compare the Obama expenses to the British PM, not the royals. I am sure the Brits spend a small fraction of what we spend, but that is the apples to apples comparison.

    It would be nice if the Obamas set a better example of austerity, however. Just for historical purposes it is worth mentioning that there was a minimal budget for the White House up until the Truman years. Presidents were expected to provide their own funds for remodeling, travel, etc. There was no presidential pension and the salary was minimal. The Trumans of course didn’t have any funds, so that had to change.

    I would agree that we have gone way too far in the other direction, and your comparison to royals is appropriate in that we now see our president as a king rather than a modest administrator of the purely executive functions of a Constitutional republic, which was the intent.

  2. Thanks Geoff for starting the conversation. Yes, it would be fair to compare British PM to US President, but not quite as entertaining,and I would not be able to use the Ether scripture. 😉 Just some superficial quick checking, shows that PM Cameron earns a £142,500-a-year salary see: Cameron and his family are overly fond of re-decorating, but did use some of their own money see: . Compared to President Obama, PM Cameron is underpaid.

    I think in most people’s minds, we assume members of the British monarchy are living “high on the hog” so to speak, compared to the Obamas not so much.

    I think that the Obamas have become our monarchy. Like Prince Harry (little scamp!), they can do no wrong. Considering the slow recovery of Hurricane Sandy and the “looming fiscal cliff”, The President’s popularity is still on the rise see:

  3. Wait, you’re really including “appointed staff” as one of the biggest categories here? Really? Why not just include all federal employees in that calculation? It would make just as much sense…

  4. Tim, the point is: “the amount of money spent on the first family … has risen tremendously under the Obama administration and needs to be reined in,” Robert Keith Gray, author of Presidential Perks Gone Royal.

  5. Tim, I don’t think this is a partisan issue. Jimmy Carter was austere compared to Reagan. Nancy spent millions renovating the White House. W Bush was pretty bad also. I think the Obamas are just continuing the trend of turning the White House into Buckingham Palace. I hope it stops someday.

  6. I’m just not convinced that all those extra staff are employed for the benefit of the first family.

  7. Oh let Obama have his fun. The United States as it was intended no longer exists even in theory. I for one can’t wait for the absolute and crushing fall of this horrible nation so we can get the current facade that we are living the Constitution out of the way.

  8. The problem with our “American democratic system”? It isn’t supposed to be a democracy! In a Constiutional Republic, there are supposed to be huge checks and balances on the power of the federal government. However, in the last century, we’ve increased the democratization process to the point that the rule of law is now often replaced with the mob rule (or majority rule). It isn’t how much freedom we have, but how much can each of us get from the fed. So, Pres Obama getting one or two billion dollars is nothing, compared to the trillions he spends on the rest of us. You can buy darn near anything in this world for money, except a free society based on Constitutional principles.

  9. The royal family in Britain are where they are because of who they are. No one can be the king or queen in the UK unless they are the same family. It is an inherited title. Whoever is President in the United States is in office because the people through the state electors elected him or her. Only one president ever served more than two terms and then the constitution was changed. Not everything is about money.

  10. Here is the thing that irks me. The President is supposed to lead the executive branch. He is actually supposed to do some work and not just soley strategize on how to get re-elected. The heavy lifting “support” positions to the executive branch, where cabinet level type positions, that required confirmation through the Senate.

    The President, naturally would require other support staff, but what we are seeing with all of the “czars” is a delegation of his duty to another, and then he spends more time campaigning, etc. It’s not just Pres. Obama, but apparently, he’s taking it to its fullest.

    What actual work is he doing? The people elected him, not 43 czars. And please don’t suggest that it’s a complex job, yes we know that, and yes it was done by every other president in history without 43 czars — not to say many didn’t have their staff either.

    The point is, if the czar is important, they should be confirmed through the senate or we should not have them.

    It’s one thing to have a handful of support staff that the President works with. But he (and others) appear to be using the “loophole” of an executive budget to grow and fill positions that are outside the constitution.

    How quickly they close loopholes in the private sector and exploit them to the fullest in the public!

  11. Yvonne, I think we all know that there are term limitations, but a lot of damage will be done. My point is, President Obama has been elevated to Kingly status, and in fact, lives way better than a real KIng. HIs attitude toward money, and yes, right now, it is about money; and the arrogant attitude of spending it as fast as you can. It is this pervasive attitude in our society right now, that is why our economy is in the shape it is in.

    Chris, excellent comment! You nailed it right on the head!

    Morgan D., Thanks for sharing the link to the great article!

  12. When I heard this story this week it made me sick to my stomach. I get it, your the President, you have things that regular people do not — bullet proof cars, secure house, people that work for you…I am fine with those types of things. However, it has always bothered me that they have used the office as their personal playground while demonizing people like the Romneys — who are rich, but do not flaunt their hard, earned wealth. And now we hear that Secy of Ag Tom Vilsack has stated rural America is less important in the 21st Century. I think there is a genreal disregard for regular people from the current White House and that is maddening. A fact that should be shared is this: during both Bush presidencies, the first family stayed in Washington DC so that their security details and people who had to work on their behalf could be home with their families. I think that shows what kind of president we have … Obama disregards the office he holds and the people he serves, and that is evident by the life he and his family live.

  13. Skyway: nice move, bringing in some Bush-bashing. Too bad it doesn’t affect the writer’s thesis AT ALL.

    We spend obscene amounts of money in this country. Sad to say, the money we spend on the President is literally a molecule compared to the ocean of money we spend on bankrupt entitlement programs.

  14. “Too bad it doesn’t affect the writer’s thesis AT ALL.”

    I wouldn’t say “at all,” merely the obvious anti-democrat/liberal bent of the thesis.

  15. Joyce Anderson

    From 17 August 2011:

    “There has been criticism of the president’s vacation at this time. But how does the number of vacation days the president has spent compare to his predecessors? CBS Radio’s Mark Knoller has kept track of presidential vacations for years and supplied the data.

    So far, President Obama has taken 61 vacation days after 31 months in office. At this point in their presidencies, George W. Bush had spent 180 days at his ranch where his staff often joined him for meetings. And Ronald Reagan had taken 112 vacation days at his ranch.”

  16. Both Ronald Reagan and GWB, contrary to the insinuation of the above poster, actually WORKED when they spent time at their ranches. And it didn’t cost the taxpayers as much as when the First Lady and the First Princess go off to Italy. Obviously there is a huge difference there and you can’t make an apples-to-oranges comparison based on number of “vacation days”. Is it a vacation when you sign nominations, get intelligence briefings, speak to the media at your fenceline when some part of the world explodes? No, it isn’t.

    Enough with the silly partisan posts. The point isn’t to slam Obama, the point is to show how much money we are WASTING in this country.

  17. Thanks for bringing this up Joanna. Love this topic, as I currently live in the UK and also have an addiction for British tabloid gossip.

    I really think that there is something in human nature that craves royalty to rule over them, and that wants to celebrate and puff up that royalty and cry “God save the king!”

    I think the President sort of takes on that cultural role in the US. Even though half the country hates him, the other half considers him a demi-god. We love the rulers on our political “team” and are at war with those who are not, as if they were rulers of an enemy state threatening us.

    I personally think it is a great travesty not to reverence and respect our rulers, particularly since they were chosen by “we the people.” The hatred of Obama sickens me, just as I was sickened by the Bush hatred. He is our leader, our dear leader, to borrow from the N. Koreans. We need a little of that kind of respect here. Anyone who has the talent, charisma, wisdom, and intelligence to achieve that office has my respect, and I give him my full allegience to do with the country as he sees fit for four years. He is much smarter than I am, and sees from a greater vantage point, and has a vast array of council at his side.

    Bless him with wisdom, riches, security, power, and might. This is my prayer for Obama, as it was my prayer for Bush. I want a powerful ruler, and I give him all he wants for four years. Then, I can excercise my modest and very imperfect evaluation of those years, and chose someone else if I want.

  18. I agree with what SilverRain just said. We elect a temporary leader, not a king for 4 years (or 8).

  19. SilverRain, Nicely said. I am disappointed in President Obama who is requiring most of us to sacrifice, but he and his family are living waaay better than they ever have before.

    Excellent points Michael!

    Joyce, I agree with you! I think the two coasts, and especially Hollywood and Washington DC, have come to regard those of us who live in the-great-fly-over portion of the US as invisible.

    Thanks Skyway and JKH for making interesting points and contributing to the conversation.

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