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I’ve been sloooowly going through my grandmother Rose Ridnor’s papers, many of which are typed, and even more are handwritten. Recently, I came across a carbon copy of a letter she wrote to Senator Alan Cranston, in which she deplores excess presidential spending. It’s equally relevant today, considering the currently administration’s disregard for conserving taxpayer dollars.

At the time the letter was written, Richard Nixon was president.

February 12, 1970

Hon. Alan Cranston
United States Senate
Washington, D.C.

Dear Senator Cranston:

As a postscript to my letter of January 24th, responding to your questionnaire, I would like to pose a question of my own…

“To what degree are the people of the United States obligated to maintain the Office of the Presidency?

It seems to me that no matter how much a previous president has added to the splendor, comfort, and conveniences of living in the White House, the next president needs even more, and to a great extent.

An item in the January 31st Los Angeles Times states, “U.S. Army Engineers spent $342,358 to build a 150-foot square helicopter landing pad just off President Nixon’s waterfront Key Biscayne compound.”

A few months ago, a similar items stated that over $500,000 has been spent for facilities at the President’s San Clemente home.

Presidential helicopters at Mar-a-Lago

That’s almost a million dollars spent in one year on personally owned vacation spots. Not to mention the opulence of the weekend retreat, Camp David.

In addition, the Los Angeles Times reports, it will cost over $250,000 a year to shuttle the President from coast-to-coast. One million dollars in four years.

Of course, what’s a few million dollars in a budget of over $200 billion. A mere drop in the bucket. But Senator Cranston, that bucket is not filled to overflowing; the rain clouds are beginning to drift away, and a drought threatens. There is not one precious hard-earned drop in that bucket that can afford to be squandered away.

Certainly, we do not expect the President to live like ordinary folks, wait on the street corner for a bus, but the point is… when Mama must water the soup, and pad out a meatloaf with lots of bread to stretch her food dollar; when some of her children must line their shoes with paper to keep the pavement out, and sleep six in a bed because there is no room; when the roof needs fixing, the house painted, and the water runs dirty out of rusted pipes, is Papa justified in building a brand-new garage to house his new high-powered sports car?

Or does the fault lie with Congress… it keeps stuffing Papa’s pockets with money.

A president cannot spend any more money than is allocated to him, and I am sure that amount is not simply pulled out of a hat, but could it be that Congress is over-generous? Could it be that Congress is too hesitant to use its own veto power when a budget bill comes in too high?

Or should I just stop reading the Los Angeles Times?


Mrs. Morris P. Ridnor

P.S. Please note I said not one word about $14,000 for comic opera uniforms.

There’s a website dedicated to keeping track of Trump’s golf outings. They noted his last game was on September 20, 2020. In less than 4 years, he’s played golf 279 times at a cost of $141 million. Over half of these outings were at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida at a cost of nearly $60 million for the flights. He’s also flown to his golf club in Bedminster, NJ 85 times at a cost of over $23 million.

100% of the golf clubs where Trump played were private as compared to 20% of the golf clubs where Obama played.

In eight years, Obama played golf 104 times, primarily at military courses, such as Andrews Air Force Base, a 30-minute drive from the White House, and the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, VA, five miles from the White House.