by Walter W. Murray, reporter
President Barack Obama has been out of office for a year and a half now, but he’s still spending a truckload of your money.
A series of new reports shows how taxpayers are on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars for his personal vanity project, the Obama Presidential Center, planned for Chicago.
Obama had previously vowed that his presidential library would be different, with the $350 million project funded entirely with private donations via his foundation.
What’s more, he also pulled it from the National Archives and Records Administration, meaning the federal government wouldn’t operate it once it’s up and running – again, supposedly saving even more taxpayer money.
“The Obama Presidential Center will rip off the band-aid, removing government from what it has no business paying for,” Politico said in a 2017 report praising the plan.
But much like Obama’s promises for hope and change, this one quickly evaporated.
Last autumn, Chicago Tonight – a local PBS public affairs show – reported that the Obama center was angling for some $100 million in state money for transportation improvements in the area around it.
So much for no cost to the taxpayers!
“All General Assembly members interested in fiscal sanity should oppose this bad idea,” state Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington) told the show at the time. “The Obama Presidential Library should be privately funded and Chicago, not the state, should be responsible for related infrastructure expenditures.”
Given the state’s $16 billion backlog in unpaid bills, that seems like sound advice.
But it gets worse: That $100 million was just the opening salvo. Earlier this year, The Chicago Tribune said this “roadwork” related to Obama’s massive monument to himself had ballooned to $175 million in taxpayer money.
Under pressure, they managed to cut the budget… to $174 million. That’s less than one percent.
That funding package was recently approved by the Democratic-controlled state legislature and signed off on by Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican. The Associated Press reports the money will go toward building new underpasses near the library and widening roads in the area.
Some taxpayers may be wondering what kind of roads are being built for that kind of money, and if they’ll be paved in gold.
Yet Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel – Obama’s first chief – declared the $174 million “money well spent.”
But hang on to your wallet, especially if you live in Illinois.
That’s still not all you’re on the hook for!
The Washington Examiner reports there will be another $25 million to renovate an above-ground train stop – part of a $50 million project in which FEDERAL taxpayers… Americans from all around the country… will also being paying for via the Transportation Department.
And get this: That stop is close to TWO MILES from the library.
Seems like anyone and everyone even remotely near the library is looking for a piece of that Obama money. In some ways, little different from how he ran his administration.
Doing the math, that adds up to $274 million in taxpayer money – more than a quarter of a billion dollars – to pay for a presidential “library” that wasn’t supposed to cost a cent in public funds.
That’s the kind of Obama math that led to federal debt rising 128 percent over his eight years in office.
Maybe Chicago should quit now.
— Walter W. Murray is a reporter for The Horn News. He is an outspoken conservative and a survival expert.