Defund Air Force One

 

Ever since I was a child, I have wondered why the President of the United States gets to fly around on a modified 747 at everyone else’s expense. Now — thanks to the power of social media and, well, Ricochet — I get to try and do something about it. Below is my Change.org petition to be sent to Hal Rogers and Speaker Ryan. Let’s get some signatures.

The Congress of the United States should immediately cut funding to the Executive Branch for the purpose of operating Air Force One. The nation’s chief executive already occupies a home owned and paid for by the Nation’s taxpayers and has numerous perks that come as part and parcel of that position. Presidents also have access to various facilities not open to the public such as Camp David that are set aside for their recreational use. What presidents do not require is the world’s largest private jet, to be flown around the country on vacations or campaign and fundraising junkets at the cost of nearly a quarter million dollars per hour. The federal government would consider the use of such a convenience to be an in-kind contribution to a campaign if it were offered to a candidate from an outside source.

The total expenditure at taxpayer expense over the course of these jets’ existence is obscene, and an insult to the people who work and pay taxes.

If the president needs to travel the country, let him take AMTRAK or charter a plane with his own or his campaign’s funds – but not the taxpayers’. With a nation that is approaching $20 trillion in debt, Congress should make this change to let taxpayers know that they and other government officials are not above the law and understand the dire necessity of beginning to put the nation’s fiscal house in order.

Travel for the purpose of statecraft could similarly be accomplished more cheaply through military or domestic charter and should require that Congress pass legislation to authorize that expenditure upon request from the executive branch.

 

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  1. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Airforce one is a fleet of aircraft to take the President, VP, Sec State et al on junkets  There is seldom a good reason for the President or the others to travel.  It’s photo ops,  campaign events, and Junkets.   There would be no damage to national security, diplomacy, emergency management were we to end the Sun King entourages.    Indeed it would be helpful to serious Presidents not to be able to travel so easily.  Consider Bush.   He chose not to fly to the Katrina disaster because it would have added distraction, diverted scarce emergency resourses to deal with the President, in a chaotic situation and there was virtually nothing his trip could have added, but he was excoriated for making the decision not to go.   There are planes to carry the President, press, the motorcade cars, the helocopters, staff, sometimes three or more giant jets.  The staff and president take over entire hotels weeks in advance even though embassies and communications and SS do all the work.   Good luck.

    • #1
  2. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Will you sign the petition, though?

    • #2
  3. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    The term “Imperial Presidency” isn’t used by accident.

    • #3
  4. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Majestyk:Will you sign the petition, though?

    i was the second.  a long way to go

    • #4
  5. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    I Walton:

    Majestyk:Will you sign the petition, though?

    i was the second. a long way to go

    Many thanks.  Share with your friends.

    • #5
  6. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    I Disagree. I want Air Force One seen around the world as part of the prestige and projection of power of the United States of America.

    • #6
  7. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Maj, I think I may need to start my own petition…

    Since the Hillary situation just doesn’t warrant a recommendation for indictment, I want the full unredacted text of all the emails.  If they can’t find a case, then that stuff can’t actually be very secret.

    • #7
  8. Knotwise the Poet Member
    Knotwise the Poet
    @KnotwisethePoet

    I signed it.  It’s a start.

    • #8
  9. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Bryan G. Stephens:I Disagree. I want Air Force One seen around the world as part of the prestige and projection of power of the United States of America.

    The prestige and power of the United States lies in its people and its deadly military.

    Bryan, if we are ever to begin tearing down the Federal leviathan we must begin somewhere.  As it is, Air Force One is a powerful reminder that we believe we can defy economic gravity forever.

    Admittedly, defunding the President’s plane would be a largely symbolic act in the sense of how much actual difference it would make budgetarily – but what a powerful symbol!  The Congress would be saying that they are not exalting the position of a person – who is after all, merely a citizen of our nation elected to preserve and defend our liberties – to the condition of virtual Godhood.

    It must begin somewhere.

    • #9
  10. carcat74 Member
    carcat74
    @carcat74

    I think I was number 7….

    • #10
  11. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Majestyk:

    Bryan G. Stephens:I Disagree. I want Air Force One seen around the world as part of the prestige and projection of power of the United States of America.

    The prestige and power of the United States lies in its people and its deadly military.

    Bryan, if we are ever to begin tearing down the Federal leviathan we must begin somewhere. As it is, Air Force One is a powerful reminder that we believe we can defy economic gravity forever.

    Admittedly, defunding the President’s plane would be a largely symbolic act in the sense of how much actual difference it would make budgetarily – but what a powerful symbol! The Congress would be saying that they are not exalting the position of a person – who is after all, merely a citizen of our nation elected to preserve and defend our liberties – to the condition of virtual Godhood.

    It must begin somewhere.

    The good the Plane does abroad outweighs the damage it does at home.

    And since we are talking about a symbol, there is no way to really prove things one way or another.

    • #11
  12. wilber forge Inactive
    wilber forge
    @wilberforge

    Questioning the Potentate and the attendant glories are we ? There are ample Brass Polishers out here that might take umbridge to this.

    • #12
  13. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    Majestyk: Let’s get some signatures.

    Done, sir!

    Majestyk: What presidents do not require is the world’s largest private jet, to be flown around the country on vacations or campaign and fundraising junkets at the cost of nearly a quarter million dollars per hour. The federal government would consider the use of such a convenience to be an in-kind contribution to a campaign if it were offered to a candidate from an outside source.

    Perhaps a set executive travel budget would make sense?

    Also, I agree that it’s hard to imagine that the practical functions of Air Force One couldn’t be handled equally well by a more conventional military aircraft.

    • #13
  14. Guruforhire Inactive
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    I would rather he fly that clog up travel arteries for those of us with day jobs.

    His motorcades are bad enough.

    • #14
  15. Austin Murrey Inactive
    Austin Murrey
    @AustinMurrey

    Not an entirely terrible idea but don’t they have AF1 set up as a mobile White House in case of terrorist attack or other catastrophe?

    Would we put that function in another craft?

    • #15
  16. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    wilber forge:Questioning the Potentate and the attendant glories are we ? There are ample Brass Polishers out here that might take umbridge to this.

    Does that include me?

    • #16
  17. RyanFalcone Member
    RyanFalcone
    @RyanFalcone

    Just curious. Doesn’t every head of state do this? I could possibly see gutting the fleet for the purpose of keeping these lunatics from embarrassing us all over the globe so often. Call me stupid if you will but our President should have a secure mode of transport wherever he goes (yes I used HE specifically to trigger everyone).

    • #17
  18. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    No.   I won’t sign such a frivolous complaint.  There are much more important things to spend time and energy fighting.  This, even were it a legitimate complaint, would only rank below cutting the grass on the White House lawn at our expense. I just don’t care.

    • #18
  19. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    The plane doesn’t bother me it is the zero restrictions on a travel budget for the president. Why does his wife take Air Force two 3 or 4 hours before the president take Air Force one to Hawaii? Things like that should be ended unless the president and his wife can come up with a really good reason to do so, and like a national security reason. Who signs off on these expenses? I can’t just use my company card however I want, I have to present a reason for the expense the president should do the same as it is not their money that is being used. Also the security detail is overkill as well

    • #19
  20. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    RyanFalcone:Just curious. Doesn’t every head of state do this? I could possibly see gutting the fleet for the purpose of keeping these lunatics from embarrassing us all over the globe so often. Call me stupid if you will but our President should have a secure mode of transport wherever he goes (yes I used HE specifically to trigger everyone).

    Allow me to ask a question back at you: Why are we trying to be just like everybody else?

    The physical security of the President is obviously important.  That individual is going to be just as safe on a conventional military aircraft as they are on a modified 747.

    The bigger, more troubling aspect of this to me is how each President – regardless of party – has used the privilege of a private air fleet to advance the political cause of their Presidency and even more specifically, for the purpose of personal vacations.

    I find that aspect to be deeply offensive.  The President’s expense report so far outsizes his salary that any CEO of a major corporation would be indicted for submitting it.

    • #20
  21. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Bryan G. Stephens:I Disagree. I want Air Force One seen around the world as part of the prestige and projection of power of the United States of America.

    Forward deployment of invincible forces does that.  Our freedom and prosperity does that.   Let us not forget that the personal meeting between Kruscheve and Kennedy led Kruscheve to believe he could push the man around and he did.  Have Obama’s junkets added to the perception of US power?  It convinces our population falsely that our President is doing things, but foreigners get a glimpse of reality and it seldom helps.   There are times for it, but they are very few and far between.  Reagan and Gorbacheve, FDR and Churchill.   Reagan’s image was of an amiable dunce, but Gorbacheve met steal while Kennedy’s image was of  intellect but Kruscheve met weakness and indecision.

    • #21
  22. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    Austin Murrey:Not an entirely terrible idea but don’t they have AF1 set up as a mobile White House in case of terrorist attack or other catastrophe?

    Would we put that function in another craft?

    That seems like a valid counter-argument, but I’d imagine that there are ways to do such short of having a designated fleet of aircraft for the purpose.

    That said, applying a specific budget to the president’s travel and enforcing — through shame or convention — the idea that it should only be used for state business would be acceptable to me.

    • #22
  23. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Majestyk: Let’s get some signatures.

    Done, sir!

    Thank you!

    Majestyk: What presidents do not require is the world’s largest private jet, to be flown around the country on vacations or campaign and fundraising junkets at the cost of nearly a quarter million dollars per hour. The federal government would consider the use of such a convenience to be an in-kind contribution to a campaign if it were offered to a candidate from an outside source.

    Perhaps a set executive travel budget would make sense?

    Also, I agree that it’s hard to imagine that the practical functions of Air Force One couldn’t be handled equally well by a more conventional military aircraft.

    Agreed on all counts.

    There’s a larger issue at hand here as well – that being the issue of Congress acting as a co-equal branch of Government and standing up to the President.  The President is not king.  He should have (as you say) at the very best a limited discretionary travel budget, if not having to request funds from Congress for large, international trips.  Speaker Ryan flies commercial.  He’s third in the line of succession.

    Why, for instance doesn’t the Supreme Court rate this sort of treatment?  Congress has been far too deferential to the President and his retinue.

    • #23
  24. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler


    I would agree that the First Lady should not get to use the government aircraft unless accompanying the president. I also think the First Lady should not have a staff or be paid.  And I also think my iPhone should not capitalize First Lady.

    • #24
  25. KC Mulville Inactive
    KC Mulville
    @KCMulville

    I remember this from when the pope visited:

    The pope doesn’t own a plane. The term “Shepherd One” suggests that the pope actually owns a plane, which he doesn’t. Even the term “papal plane” is something of a myth, since the pontiff does not have his own personal aircraft.

    The Vatican always charters a plane for the three or four foreign trips a pope usually makes every year, often using a different aircraft for each leg of the journey. These are regular commercial planes that were in use making the Rome to London run, or something like it, the day before the trip and will be again once it’s over.

    The tradition is for the pope to take the Italian national airline, Alitalia, to wherever he’s going, and then fly the national carrier of that country on his return. When Francis travelled to Sri Lanka and the Philippines in January, for instance, he took Alitalia to get there and Philippine Airlines to get back to Rome.

    • #25
  26. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Bryan G. Stephens:I Disagree. I want Air Force One seen around the world as part of the prestige and projection of power of the United States of America.

    Simple solution.  Air Force One remains and is used for International travel.

    For domestic travel, find another way.

    • #26
  27. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Miffed White Male:

    Bryan G. Stephens:I Disagree. I want Air Force One seen around the world as part of the prestige and projection of power of the United States of America.

    Simple solution. Air Force One remains and is used for International travel.

    For domestic travel, find another way.

    So we would have AF1 for foreign, and another plane set up with all the same capacities to be a mobile White House but without the paint job?

    • #27
  28. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Miffed White Male:

    Bryan G. Stephens:I Disagree. I want Air Force One seen around the world as part of the prestige and projection of power of the United States of America.

    Simple solution. Air Force One remains and is used for International travel.

    For domestic travel, find another way.

    So we would have AF1 for foreign, and another plane set up with all the same capacities to be a mobile White House but without the paint job?

    Stick him in the back of a C-130 with the Presidential Limo.  Doesn’t that have all the communication equipment he needs?

    • #28
  29. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Miffed White Male:

    Bryan G. Stephens:I Disagree. I want Air Force One seen around the world as part of the prestige and projection of power of the United States of America.

    Simple solution. Air Force One remains and is used for International travel.

    For domestic travel, find another way.

    So we would have AF1 for foreign, and another plane set up with all the same capacities to be a mobile White House but without the paint job?

    Let him drive.  If I’m not mistaken, the President had a custom-made RV for his last campaign which presumably had secure communication capabilities.

    All large military aircraft have similar capabilities as well.  He doesn’t even need the 747.

    • #29
  30. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Signed. And thanks!

    • #30
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