Sunday, 24 January 2010

Costs of a presidency

We can be assured that before long will we get the bill for Prince William's unofficial visit in Australia. Republicans will triumphantly present the figures and claim that these costs would never have occurred under a republican regime, no matter how minimal they are.

Well, friends, don't be sure, because unless Australia closes its borders for visitors, there will always be costs which a host has to cover, not matter if the visitor fit to one's own ideology or not. A Chinese president does not come cheap, nor will an Irish president expect to pay her all her own expenses. It is rather impolite if a guest is presented the bill after he or she left the country.

But that is just what republicans do with royal guests in Australia.

Nothing new. So, let's look what expenses a president can cause in his own country. The figures come from the French website Observatoire des subventions.

Last week French president Nicolas Sarkozy paid a visit to the overseas departement of La Réunion to wish his subjects a Happy New Year. His 24-hour stay in the island east of Madagascar cost the French taxpayer 1.6 million Euros (=2.511 AUS $).

The president spent this sum for:

815 000 Euros on transport
Not less than four aeroplanes were used for this trip: one A319 for the president himself, another A319 for journalists and his delegation, a Falcon 50 flew empty to La Réunion, just in case, and an A310 also brought journalists and another part of the delegation to the island.

To these 815 000 Euros more costs have to be added, detailed figures are unknown, for fours helicopters that transported the president and his entourage between Saint-Pierre and Saint-Denis, the capital.

50 000 Euros for airconditioning
The Élysée Palace insisted on the installation of a new airconditioning system under the podium. It was out of the question that the president would appear with sweat marks under his arms when being seen by the public. On the other hand, the public had nothing other than the invitation card to fan fresh air into their faces.

23 000 Euros for meals
This sum does not include drinks.

17 000 Euros for the invitations
10 000 personal invitations on cardboard were sent to functionaries, party members, CEOs and other business men of La Réunion.

17 000 Euros rent for the hall
The rent for the “salle des expositions”, where Sarkozy expressed his New Year's wishes did not include lights, sound, staff costs and cleaning.

13 000 Euros for accomodation
An abnormally high price. The président de la république had chosen “l’un des plus luxueux mais aussi plus onéreux hôtel de la Réunion” (one of the most luxurious, but also most expensive hotels of La Réunion): Le Palm hôtel & Spa de Petite-Île. 55 rooms for 55 people (ministers, councillors, security staff, CEOs …).

Just as a footnote: In 2009 Nicolas Sarkozy's spent more money on garden parties than the Queen of the United Kingdom - but entertained less guests.


MadMonarchist said...

There is also nothing to compare to the cost of a presidential election. The most lavish coronations in history would not hold a candle to the tens of millions of dollars spent every 4 years in the USA on presidential elections. In just the most recent one Obama spent more money getting elected than his last 3 predecessors combined. True, alot of the money comes from big donors, but they all expect a good return on their money too.

Nuno Castelo-Branco said...

President Cavaco of Portugal: 17,5 millions Euros/year
King Juan Carlos, of Spain: 8 million Euros/year

LAW Wells said...

Just to build on Mad Monarchist's post, coronations are few and far between, while elections are quite frequent.

The republicans doth protest too much, methinks.

radical royalist said...

Thanks for the comments, which I appreciate very much.

Besides the electoral expenditures, there are also the costs of the inaugurations every four years. President Obama's inauguration in 2009 was as expensive as Queen Elizabeth's coronation in 1953.

Coronations vs. inaugurations

ZAROVE said...

Two Things other adds t the costs. Each Republican President needs a new staff,and the mechanism used to deliver the is change evrry time a new one is elected.

IE, in the USA, President Bush's Security, a Secret Service Detail, is provdvide dhm even after he left office, and is for him and hi enture imediate family. Obama is aso secured by the Secret Service. And, Obama's Air Force One crew differs form Bush's, as do mosy of his Whit Hosue STaff. ( Yet Bush's Staff is still paid.)

Meanwhile, the ROyal Families tend to ahve built in Mechanisms alreayd in use and use dby all fo them.

Oh, and lets nto forget the fact that Monarchies tend to not have Rock Star Images. Near all Presidents got in "By the will of the poeple" and are usually very good at livign a lager than life image they need to get elected.