On Obama’s Trip to India

Obama’s India trip generated a lot of attention when the Press Trust of India newspaper reported the trip would cost $200 million per day. I am surprised at how many people took that at face value without saying, “BS!”

even these people didn’t provide their own analysis.

I posted on Phil Greenspun’s blog part of my estimate:

800 rooms x $200 per night = $160,000 per day
500 security people * $1000 per day ($250k/250 work days/yr) = $500,000 per day
meals for 800 people * 100 per day = $80,000
fuel = $50,000 per day
misc. logistics = $25,000 per day
total = $815,000 per day.

‘Hail’ responded that the trip was 10 days which means $8.15 Million dollars.

According to “Airline Operations and Scheduling” by Bazargan, the cost for a 747-400 flying from Washington DC to New Delhi would be about $250K. With 2 747s getting there and back, transportatation costs are in excess of $1,000,000.

add another $200K for pre-trip logisitcs. You are talking $9.4, let’s round up and call it $10 Million, throw in another $10 mil for military stuff and it’s an order of magnitude less for the entire trip than the supposed one day figure. One thing is for sure, it certainly generated a lot of publicity for The Press Trust of India!

I love when people don’t report a cost for “security”, for example when Vietor said, “Due to security concerns, we are unable to outline details associated with security procedures and costs…” The reason people don’t provide even a ballpark figure for costs, is because they don’t want the taxpayers to know. If the White House released figures that said the security detail cost $9 Million or $11 million, how will that affect the President’s security? It won’t.

A trip to India as head of state can be justified, and the cost written off as the cost of doing business. A weekend jaunt to New York which probably cost between $100,000 and $200,000 in direct costs, or millions spent on cross-country fundraising trips for Democratic Party candidates whom never got reimbursed the taxpayer, probably cannot.
The indirect costs, where people are delayed or can’t work because of the no-fly zone, were pretty high in India, but it that doesn’t really matter for US citizens. However, those indirect costs on intra-country trips do add up….If only taxpayers knew how much the trip to India cost, they could extrapolate the costs for those flights to Washington State for the Senate race.

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