Obama comes to Boston to help our small business

Just got the word from the FAA that President Obama is coming to Boston on Tuesday to help out our small business (NOTAM). As part of Obama’s fundraising visit, flight training operations at suburban Boston airports, including KBED and KOWD, where our flight school operates, are prohibited. So despite the forecast on Tuesday being perfect for flight training (light winds, no rain), our capital investment in 30 aircraft will yield a return of $0, our employees, who are paid by the hour, will earn nothing and pay no payroll taxes, and we’ll still get to pay rent on the office and hangars. As the event costs $5,000 per person, I’m not sure that any of our CFIs will be attending, but Obama  and Nancy Pelosi are giving us private-sector workers an unpaid holiday while the unionized public-sector workers in Boston, e.g., police, get paid double-time for working extra shifts (example cost) and the taxpayers get stuck with the bill.

[Separately, with the federal government set to shut down on March 18th if Congress and Obama don’t agree on how to spend all of the money that they are borrowing from future taxpayers, does it make sense for Obama to spend an entire day traveling to a provincial backwater like Boston? Wouldn’t it make more sense for Obama to work at his desk during the day and send Air Force One up to Logan Airport, pick up the $5,000 fat-cats, and fly them down to the White House for dinner? The cost to the taxpayers would be considerably reduced, since the White House is already adequately secured and no police overtime would be required. Also, taxpaying businesses in Boston could continue to operate normally.]


  1. C. Henry

    March 6, 2011 @ 2:41 pm


    Better yet, charter a local aircraft and hire local caterers to provide in-flight food and beverage, hire local ground transportation, fly the guests to Washington, where they can house them in a local hotel and buy some more local services, take the White House motorcade to the hotel instead of a presidential Air Force and Secret Service package that likely costs $100,000 an hour to mobilize. Just sayin’.

    I still can’t figure out why the NOTAM specifies two restricted discs of airspace for the same time, one entirely within the other with the same operating restrictions. 18000 MSL
    and above leaves only overflight of pressurized private jets. That is an important constituency, though.

  2. philg

    March 6, 2011 @ 2:48 pm


    C: The concentric circles are different. The 10 nm circle prohibits all flight except for scheduled airlines (though they too are shut down when the president is actually at Logan Airport taxiing around or taking off; this costs a fortune and plays havoc with the schedules as you can imagine). The 10-30 nm ring lets you come in and out on a flight plan, e.g., if you’re flying in the back of a private jet from, say, Buffalo, you can land at Hanscom (but not Logan, because it is inside the 10 nm ring) and then take a limo to the fundraiser.

  3. C. Henry

    March 6, 2011 @ 3:17 pm


    I used to work at Andrews AFB some years ago. White House travel operations were always a headache for those on and near the base. Security tied up road traffic, there were special perimeter helicopter patrols and AF F-16s launched in anticipation of any flights. Even though the executive operations mostly take place on a base within a base there, and the President commonly takes a helicopter there from the White House, all the support personnel go by ground.

  4. thrill

    March 6, 2011 @ 3:52 pm


    “how to spend all of the money that they are borrowing from future taxpayers”

    It’s only borrowing if you have an ability to pay it back.

  5. enplaned

    March 6, 2011 @ 4:15 pm


    The issue here isn’t specific to Obama. Even before 9/11 the US went crazy every time the president moved, and after 9/11, well, forget it. We appear to have lost sight of the fact that politicians, of whatever rank, work for the public, and therefore presumably should not be overly inconveniencing their bosses.

    However, if that’s the way things are going to be, then the president should avoid commercial airfields whenever possible. Last month Obama went to the Bay Area and used SFO rather than, say, Moffett. If he’s gonna come to Boston, how about using a large, empty airport, like, Worcester, or Hanscom, or Portsmouth?

  6. Friedrich

    March 7, 2011 @ 3:05 am


    How about sending an invoice to the white house?

    You may even mention that your civil right were “suspended”. Something in the way:
    “Dear Mr President,
    unfortunatly you had the idea on visiting us here in xxxx. During that time we had to close our business. We very much appreciate that you have flight over and spend a few of our tax dollars on your entourage. (maybe you should quantify the costs a littel bit”)

    We’d much more appreciate if we would get compensated for the losses we had to suffer. In comparison to your total visit cops this compensation would just make for xy %.

    Next time you come near Boston please consider using xy airport for you visit


    Or the like 😉

  7. philg

    March 7, 2011 @ 10:54 am


    Friedrich: I believe that some flight schools have tried sending invoices or at least pleas for assistance to the Secret Service. As far as I know, none have been successful. I’m not sure why this isn’t a government “taking” without compensation. The airspace is supposed to belong to the public, with some exceptions such as the government taking some for military training. This has been expanded post-9/11, with Walt Disney, for example, being able to exclude all aircraft over its parks primarily for a commercial goal of preserving a monopoly on advertising against banner-towing aircraft (other theme park owners did not have sufficient political connections to obtain airspace). And certainly the taxpayers are excluded from using the roads when their rulers are using them, e.g., as a presidential motorcade drives by. So you’d have to convince a judge that there was a difference between waiting an extra 45 minutes in traffic for the motorcade to pass by and having your business explicitly shut down for a full day.

    enplaned: The suggestion of an outlying airport would cut down on the disruption to scheduled airlines, but not to flight schools. The post-9/11 standard for presidential protection from C172s, etc., requires no flights within 10 nm and only a limited number of flights within 30 nm (why that can’t include airplanes circling in a pattern at a towered training airport, I don’t know).

    It wouldn’t bother me if a president came to visit the Boston area to see how a local Biotech company experienced FDA regulation and find out how the federal government could work more efficiently. That has the potential to benefit all Americans. But post-9/11, the “I’m going to take a day off of work and shut down Boston to raise some money for myself and political cronies” trip does not seem like a worthwhile thing for society. Worst of all, we’re paying all of the expenses for Air Force One, Marine One, and the thousands of people in the presidential entourage, some of whom show up weeks ahead of time. I think the way that we get stuck with the bill is that Obama will give a talk at a school, so his fundraising trip is not technically the reason for burning up 1 million lbs. of jet fuel (among the various aircraft). I guess that might be good since Obama could see what a crummy job the schools are doing, but (a) the federal government doesn’t run schools, and (b) the whole city will be set up like a Potemkin Village for him. Due to the Potemkin Village, Obama won’t experience the Boston traffic, so he won’t get the idea that congestion pricing might make sense. The smartest and most energetic people in the school system will be pushed to the front, so he won’t see any apathetic unionized paycheck-cashers. I doubt if he will visit the home of a 41-year-old retired MBTA bus driver and learn first-hand about the pension and retiree health care expenses that are crippling the states.

    In the old days, at least in legend, when the rulers wanted to learn about the lives of the subjects, they dressed up like peasants and slipped out of the castle to mingle and experience day-to-day life. A president who travels with an entourage of 1000+ and on roads that have been swept clear of all traffic is not learning anything about life in Boston. If he needs to collect $5,000/person from some dinner companions, why can’t they fly to D.C.? A JetBlue round trip is about $200 and the fatcats would probably appreciate a tour of the White House.

  8. Jae

    March 7, 2011 @ 1:50 pm



    We had Obama visit last month. This visit also surprised me, in that he could have easily had these billionaires fly themselves in their own corporate jets to the White house. Instead, he flew into Moffett field, then Marine one (and the 2 backup helis) fly him over the valley (maybe take 15mins by car), and into Woodside for a 2 hr dinner.

    The first sentence of the article says it wasn’t for political fundraising, but you really expect us to believe that? Give me a break.

  9. philg

    March 7, 2011 @ 4:35 pm


    Jae: I thought Obama’s Silicon Valley visit made a lot of sense. If you ask yourself “What kind of companies can survive higher taxes, more regulations, and poor average quality of education?” the answers are Google, Apple, Oracle, et al. These companies have such high profits and dominance in their respective markets that higher taxes can’t sink them. They need to hire only a few thousand smart people every year, so it doesn’t matter if half of America’s children get an inferior education. In fact, these companies can staff themselves entirely with immigrants or offshore tech talent if necessary. All already have research and development labs offshore. How about regulations that would kill a small business? These companies have armies of lawyers, their kind of office work doesn’t tend to attract regulation, and, as noted above, their competitors are not typically hard on their heels.

    In fact, through patent, trademark, and copyright protection, a lot of Silicon Valley companies benefit from a powerful and pervasive government in a way that a sheet metal stamping factory does not.

    So it makes sense that a president who has so greatly increased the size and scope of government would find kindred souls in Woodside.

  10. CCG

    March 8, 2011 @ 3:50 am


    Excellent rant. You should be a guest contributor over at the Mises blog, as this is right up their alley.

    Speaking of Krugman, I believe they’ve been trying to get him to agree to a debate with an Austrian scholar (Robert Murphy) for months now, without success.

  11. philg

    March 8, 2011 @ 7:43 am


    CCG: Thanks for the kind words. I didn’t want it to come across as a rant, though! More a plea for courtesy towards ordinary citizens. If I had six screaming 1-year-old babies, I wouldn’t go into a movie theater and ruin the show for everyone else, even though it would be legal to do so. I’d like to think that if I were president and wanted to raise some money for my personal political party that I would try to do it in a way that minimized the inconvenience to my subjects.

  12. Friedrich

    March 9, 2011 @ 3:02 am


    philg: “I believe that some flight schools have tried sending invoices or at least pleas for assistance to the Secret Service. As far as I know, none have been successful”

    How does it come that I’m not suprised? I’d expected that you know a few are more equal than others. And our whole “highest” level of the deledefs (democratic legitimated defrauders) are the “equalst”.

    You probably can see how equal citizens are. They all have to pay for the “ideas” of our politicians. And they do not have suffer under their own “law” making. That’s “justice” I guess.

  13. Mike Woods

    March 14, 2011 @ 1:06 am


    Out here in Los Angeles, we were gifted with a visit from Obama last August as he went to attend a fund raising dinner at tv producer John Wells’ mansion. He traveled from LAX across about 1/2 the city to Hancock Park (just west of downtown) right at rush hour. Predictably, street closures shut down the Westside for hours and created monumental traffic jams and delays. It took my wife over 3 hours to travel 5 miles from UCLA to Santa Monica. The business impacts from this type of trip extend far beyond flight schools to nearly closing down half of a major city.


    The nice thing about Bush was that he almost never came to California!

  14. Shamsher

    March 17, 2011 @ 5:37 am


    Mr. PhilG,

    I am wondering if you would have complained as much if former Prez Bush or any other republican candidate would have come to your airport.

    Sham Sher

  15. philg

    March 17, 2011 @ 10:35 am


    Shamsher: Had King Bush II come to somewhere within 35 miles of our airport to raise money for the 90%-dead John McCain, would we have been delighted to shut down our business? Of course! We would have joined the rest of the peasants lining the streets and shouted out “Thank you, Pharoah, for the gifts which you have bestowed upon us!” I would have happily payed $5,000 to have dinner with King Bush II, but he was wise enough to send most of my money to his worthy subjects in Afghanistan and Iraq, leaving me approximately $4,995 short. Truly if George W. had come to Boston our only regret would have been to see him leave. It would have been a privilege to keep our flight school shut down for the full 8 years of his reign.

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