The White House won’t tell, but it denies the likely inflated figure put out by the press in India of 200M. What we know is it will not be cheap. Read the report of the tunnel that will be built for the President to visit a museum.
That is just the beginning. 800 hotel rooms, 34 warships including an Aircraft carrier, undisclosed secret service, scores of aircraft, 40 cars, hundreds of security personnel in advance, and the moving of “the majority of the White House staff“. The White house is pushing back. Gibbs denies 34 warships but won’t say how many there are. It is expected to be a new record. Still the war in Afghanistan with 100K troops costs less than 200M a day.
It is doubtful this exercise could cost more than 15 million a day. Let me give an example. It cost the huge trip that President Clinton took to Africa 3.6 million a day. Double that for undisclosed security. This trip has costs that are higher because it is over a decade later and this one has double the number of people.
The meeting is a G-20 meeting which is important to our nation’s economic well being. I am not sure we need 3000 people to go, but that is a call for the President. If a disaster occurred and terrorists took out the President, how much would that cost the American economy? It would be a lot more than 200M. The lost wealth would be enormous. The confidence the American people had would be shaken. The nation would be torn apart in recriminations.
Summits are important on occassion because you have to meet people in person to take a measure of people eventually. Technology reduces the necessity of the showmanship and costs of face to face travel, but it cannot be eliminated. There is some value in the President visiting other lands. It shows that we do not think we are too good to set foot in another land and allows the President to escape the bubble of Washington.
There are a lot of complaints that I have with the President, but this is not one of them in principle. I do wonder if the scope of it is necessary. The lack of transparency has some basis in security, but most of it is PR. That legitimate complaint should not undermine a legitimate roll of the President. There will be many battles in the coming months. There is no reason to create extra ones. We need to unite as a people somewhere for the common good.