Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Michelle Obama’s Africa Trip and One Dollar Coins Make for Poor Fiscal Policy

Except for a twinge or two of envy, I would have absolutely no problem with First Lady Michelle Obama taking a trip to Africa… just as long as she paid her way and didn’t act like a royal and hypocritical know-it-all on nutrition.

But since she didn’t pay her way and she is acting like a royal and hypocritical know-it-all, I do have a problem with her.

Lauding the tax-payer-funded vacation as an important step towards promoting “youth leadership, education, health and wellness” in southern Africa, she cost the U.S. as much as $800,000 in airfare fuel fees, Secret Service protection, room and board for herself, her children and her staff members.

To play devil’s advocate, a couple hundred thousand bucks means little compared to the trillions of dollars we spend every year.

But it could add up to something “significant” if we cut back on those needless trips around the world, pointless studies that prove obvious facts, unnecessary outreaches to gay pride galas in other countries, sending Congressional members outside the U.S. to study issues they could easily study here, and a whole host of other “small” expenditures.

That includes the $300 million spent on making one billion $1 coins that the federal government thought so necessary to mint back in 2005. As anybody who ever visited Europe with its bulky currency could have told them, they shouldn’t have bothered.

Sure enough, the coins didn’t really hit it off anywhere outside of Renaissance faires. So now we have stockpiles of currently worthless pieces of metal collecting dust in storage facilities in Baltimore, MD.

Again, yes, we’re spending far more than that on a regular basis. But when we’re broke and getting broker every day, that doesn’t give us a good excuse to spend even more.

Otherwise, it’s akin to a drunkard claiming that he's already thrown back twenty-two shots of vodka in one night. What damage can one or two more really do?

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