The message this sends is one of sheer contempt for the American taxpayer. $7 million may be viewed by the White House as a drop in the ocean compared to the overall size of America’s federal debt, but it is the principle that counts. The vast majority of American people simply couldn’t afford the kind of vacation enjoyed by the US president, not least at a time when 12.2 million Americans are still out of work.
For most of America’s embattled middle class, who, unlike the president have already returned to work, this kind of luxury is simply unimaginable in the current economic climate. And they’ve just been hit hard with a significant rise in their payroll taxes due to the expiration of the Social Security tax break. According to the Tax Policy Center, 77 percent of US households will now be paying more in federal taxes following this week’s fiscal cliff deal.
Barack Obama benefits from a largely deferential liberal press in the United States which rarely questions his opulence in office. It would be unthinkable for the British prime minister to act in the same manner. If David Cameron flew off to Hawaii and billed the British public £5 million for his Christmas vacation, he would be out of a job.