On Tuesday, the nation — or at least the part that’s still paying attention — learned that President Barack Obama’s administration, in what can only be seen as an incredibly petty and virulently vindictive response to spending “cuts” imposed by sequestration (properly described in most cases as “reductions in projected spending increases”), decided to cancel all tours of the White House beginning March 9.
As a result, to name just one of what are surely many examples, sixth graders at an Iowa elementary school which had received approval to take a March 16 tour learned, barring what would seem to be a quixotic effort to change White House minds via Facebook, that it’s not going to happen. They’re reportedly going to make their trip to Washington anyway, because, according to the school’s principal, it’s an important opportunity for them to “find out more about how the government works.”
The tours are run by volunteers. According to an estimate worked up by ABC News on Wednesday, the White House will save $18,000 per week by not utilizing 30 Secret Service agents during the tours. Even that savings figure is suspect, as original reports about the tours’ cancellation claimed that “Uniformed Division Officers assigned to the public tours will be reassigned to other security posts,” which “will reduce overtime costs as well as potential furloughs that could have been required.”
Even if the estimated $936,000 in annual savings ($18,000 times 52 weeks) really occurs, the cancelled tours of what Michelle Obama still calls the People’s House, but which should now be renamed Barack’s Barracks, could have been completely avoided if her husband, knowing that sequestration loomed, hadn’t spent over $1 million on a golf weekend with Tiger Woods in mid-February.