In his recent book Presidential Perks Gone Royal, Robert Keith Gray, a former Eisenhower staffer, revealed that last year the U.S. presidency cost American taxpayers $1.4 billion. Over the same period, the entire royal family cost British taxpayers about $57 million. There’s nothing “royal” about the current level of “presidential perks”: The Obama family costs taxpayers more than every European royal house put together…

The fish rots from the head down, and so do republics. A $1.4-billion president has a defense secretary with a private plane to fly him home every weekend, and a chair of the “White House Council on Women and Girls” with her own Secret Service detail, and all of them ever more detached from the rhythms of American life. In the wake of the Cartagena hooker scandal, the Secret Service with predictable obtuseness imposed a new rule prohibiting agents from having “foreign nationals” in their rooms. The salient fact surely wasn’t that they were “foreign” but that they were hookers. Yet now, at the luxury Moana Surfrider resort, Obama staffers passing through the lobby and bumping into minor princesses and arch-duchesses staying in the cheap rooms on the lower floors won’t even be able to ask them up to their federally mandated ocean-view suites for tips on deficit reduction. In the Brokest Nation in History, it would be unreasonable to expect the president to pretend to have a regular all-American family Christmas for less than five million bucks.