In an effort to show federal employees that he feels their pain over pay cuts and furloughs brought on by the sequestration process, President Obama announced last week that he would return 5 percent of his presidential paycheck to the U.S. Treasury.
Since the president pockets an annual paycheck of $400,000, not counting perks and income from books, the U.S. Treasury can expect a White House mini-tithe of $20,000 this year.
Democrat that I am, I've already figured a number of ways to spend it. Using the most recent cost/purchasing data to be easily found on the Internet, I've come up with the following $20,000 social welfare, or Obamafare, purchasing possibilities:
Big 12 Equalization Initiative
-- Buys six hours of Predator drone flying time, at $3,234 per hour, to assist the WVU football program in scouting opponents' strengths and weaknesses -- and opening holes in their defensive lines.
The Robert C. Byrd Memorial Monongahela National Forest Comfort Station
-- Installs a large U.S. Forest Service-approved pit toilet on a concrete pad ($15,000), two recycled plastic ADA-approved hexagonal picnic tables ($918 each) and five bear-proof trash barrels ($500 each) at a pullout off Williams River Road.
Southern West Virginia Stimulus Plan
-- The level of support the president received from this region may have played a role in a $20,000 economic development pilot program that allows 3,333 motorists to exit the state toll-free one way on the West Virginia Turnpike/Interstate 77.
Carbon Sequestration Sequestration Plan
-- Send a coal state delegation of Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, on a two-week fact-finding trip to study the viability of a carbon capture test project in coal-rich, protester-free Antarctica aboard the cruise ship Sea Spirit ($6,990 each) with onboard musical entertainment by the Judds ($6,000) and a 14-day supply of Dramamine ($20).
Winter Safety Slush Fund
-- Locks in late season price of $40 a ton to buy 500 tons of rock salt to de-ice West Virginia highways during the winter of 2013-14.