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#SequesterThis: Twitter users suggest budget cuts to save White House tours

Published: Friday, March 8 2013 3:37 p.m. MST

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Associated Press
"Spend 325K on robo-squirrel & $27M on pottery classes in Morocco. Save $18K on #WhiteHouse tours. #SequesterThis," Blake Sanders tweeted.

The two items referenced in the tweet were highlighted in Coburn's 2012 Waste Book. The first referred to a $325,000 National Science Foundation grant given to researchers at San Diego State University and the University of California to investigate what would happen if a snake is confronted by a robot squirrel built to look, act and smell like the real thing.

The second item mentioned in the tweet — pottery classes in Morocco — was funded by the U.S. Agency of International Development and had the ultimate goal of improving the economic competitiveness of Morocco.

Other items cited in the report included:

— "The most unproductive and unpopular Congress in modern history," at $132 million

— "Junk food, luxury drinks, soap operas, and billions of dollars in improper food stamp payments, "at $4.5 billion

— U.S. Department of Agriculture funding to promote caviar, at $300,000

— The country paying more to produce pennies than pennies are actually worth, at $70 million

— Free or reduced-price cell phone service, at $1.5 billion

— High-capacity Internet routers placed in tiny rural libraries and schools, at $24 million

— A "Prom Week" video game, from the National Science Foundation, at $516,000

— "Corporate welfare" for PepsiCo Inc., at $1.3 million

— An old-fashioned trolley system in St. Louis, at $35.6 million

— Identify thieves collecting money from fraudulent tax returns, at an estimated $3.9 billion

— Prisoners receiving college tax credits, at $3.2 billion
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justice4children
Mapleton, UT

Nothing irks me more than to hear or read about "another" vacation for the White House family! I actually lost count of how many there were during the first administration. Why in the world are the tax payers required to support the cost of outlandish trips, using the the "official jet, fuel, etc.? We, the people, do well to even take a week-end trip all of 40 miles away from home! Am I the only one who has the hair on the back of my neck literally stand at attention knowing that "I" am paying for their wonderful frolicking at their own personal command? Eliminate those vacations and all the extravaganza that goes along with it, and, can't help but see less of a strain on "our" budget!

utahmtnman
Park City, UT

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I'd like to see more examples listed of corporate welfare including the tax considerations given to the movie industry recently.

John Jackson
Sandy, UT

A number of the suggestions should be taken. One was that we listen to the inspector generals, and that would save us $67 billion. Sixty-seven billion? That is not too far a cry from the whole $85 billion the Sequester is saving us. If the inspector generals were hired to keep us from wasting money, shouldn't we be listening to them, anyway, almost automatically? Why is it we are not saving that $67 billion?

John Jackson
Sandy, UT

Would be a neat little thing if Congress and the president listened to the people, and took up many of these ideas. Sometimes, the citizens can have as good of ideas as elected officials, so why not listen to the people? Did someone say, "government of the people, by the people, for the people"? Would be wonderful if a Congress member picked up the advice and introduced legislation to enact many of these proposals.

worf
Mcallen, TX

Obama's last Hawaiian vacation would pay ten years of White House tours.

Couldn't the anointed one pay just a little more? Where's the example?

Jake2010
bountiful, ut

Rather than cut the white house tours (sounds fishy to me and like he might be up to no good) why not cut the lavish foolish vacations for the first family? We are already at the $100's million. There should be no further traveling by the Potus and his family until the deficit has been reduced by half unless they are personally financed from HIS own bank account!

worf
Mcallen, TX

Think I'll start taking donations for an all expense paid Hawaiian vacation. I'm having a family reunion in Hilo Hawaii during the weekend of July 12th.

Unfortunately, many of my relatives can't afford it due to tax hikes.

Oh, Barry! Why didn't you keep your promises?

washcomom
Beaverton, OR

Why do we have to fund the alcohol in the White House? Or all the jaunts the family takes on these little trips that must cost more than $17,000 (cough) for security details, housing, fuel, planes, automobiles, fancy dinners and photo ops?

Furry1993
Ogden, UT

I think stopping the White House tours is a good idea. It puts a visual image on what a lot of people are having to deal with in private. There are a lot of better places the mmoney could be spent (like providing funds for school breakfasts for needy chilren).

worf
Mcallen, TX

@Furry1993---two questions:

* why have children if you're poor, and can't provide?
* most of these poor parents collect food stamps. Can't they create meals for their children?

Government aren't our parents, and people being responsible would save a ton.

DanO
Mission Viejo, CA

So since the author isn't going to tell you why the White House tours got cut and why it's become such a rallying cry to Republicans, I will. The sequester cut the Secret Service budget. When they (the Secret Service) went to see where they could cut, the least essential item on their security duties was White House tours. Why, out of all items, this has become the most essential government service in the eyes of Republican congress people? Because they're the ones who dole out the tickets and it's making them look bad.

DanO
Mission Viejo, CA

When the President says that the sequester cuts aren't smart, he's right. The way the sequester is set up, the cuts were defined by Congress and it was up to each department to figure out how to best enact them while impacting essential services the least. This was the least impacting to the Secret Service. But the way these cuts were defined by Congress, these "suggestions" don't help because they all move money earmarked (again by Congress) to different departments.

A1994
Centerville, UT

@Furry1993

"I think stopping the White House tours is a good idea. It puts a visual image on what a lot of people are having to deal with in private."

A visual image is the ONLY thing this White House has to offer. There is no substance behind their claims. Did you know that of the $8 billion in TARP money, there is still approximately $200 billion that has not yet been spent? Think about it. We were told that if we didn't cough up this money, the world markets would collapse. That was 5 years ago. And we still have $200 billion that hasn't been spent. Can you explain why? Can you explain how a small 2% cut in the Federal budget has affected you or ANYONE that you know? Barack Obama has no credibility. That's why nobody cares if we cut $85 billion from a budget of $3.6 TRILLION!

mytymouse09
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

All of this waste of OUR money is so aggravating. I continue to be amazed at the stupidity of the individuals who are supposed to be leading this country in a prosperous, stable direction, instead of down the toilet.

Do I think our "leaders" will pay attention to our suggestions?! They haven't in the past, so why would they start now? **Interesting that so many comments mentioned the cost, and frequency, of vacations this president has taken at our expense, and will probably continue to do so. Still amazed that so many of our citizens voted him in again.

DanO
Mission Viejo, CA

mytymouse09, a little fact checking will show Obama has spent an average of 3-4 weeks a year on "vacation". Although a president is never really on vacation. President George W Bush, on the other hand averaged 4 months a year. Reagan, averaged 2 months a year.

Gregorio
Norco, CA

President Ronald Reagan worked while on vacation, remember the signing of the biggest tax cut in US history at his ranch? He paid for his own way especially at the Western White House insisting that the hay for his horses be paid by him and NOT the taxpayers. He didn't collect a check for being governor of California or the Presidency.
Governor Romney never received a check for being a governor nor would he had he been elected President in 2012 by citizens who appreciate someone who pays his own way in life.

DanO
Mission Viejo, CA

First off, all Presidents are still working when on vacation. There is not a moment when they are out of comminication. And secondly, your claim about Reagan is so easily proven false. His tax returns are online for the years he served as President and they prove, without a doubt, that he did indeed collect a salary. And no, he did not donate his salary either. Governor Romney wouldn't miss $200K a year. It's hardly a sacrifice.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The reason that Fox News and their hoard is crying about the closing of the White House tours is probably related to the loss of profit revenue of the businessmen who rob the public in association with those tours.

In my view, the reason for the business war on the federal government is being waged at the behest of the giant business organizations in their quest for power and wealth. The big boys are ready to challenge our national government for control over the mass of people and their wealth.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

justice4children

Every time you purchase goods or services in America you are paying for the vacations, holidays, frolicking and a whole bunch more for the rich and powerful, mostly businessmen. The time off for the president and his family is miniscule compared to the excesses of rich businessmen.

Could it be that you have other reasons than the money for wanting the president to work like a slave.

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