The French people were cursed by famine in the late eighteenth century. They had no food to sustain them. Their royal couple, King Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette, lived in regal splendor. As the story goes, she was informed one day that her subjects had no bread and were starving. She is reputed to have responded, "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche," (popularly translated: "Then let them eat cake"). Both royal figures were casualties of the French Revolution. They each had a date with the guillotine.

Many Americans are hurting financially, with joblessness higher than it has been in years. The economy is contracting. We are in a great recession.  We may even be looking into the yawning chasm of a depression, although we cannot be sure. Opinions vary on the subject.

In the midst of this severe pinch, citizens might have hoped that Barack and Michelle Obama would be compassionate fellow-sufferers demonstrating a modicum of understanding for the plight of industrious Americans.  After succeeding a president that Mr. Obama has never tired of characterizing as out of touch, one might expect empathy and compassion from our new chief executive, right?  I mean, after all, this would be part of the "change that we can believe in," no?  What a laugh!

Get this.  Michelle Obama has a brigade of personal attendants at the White House, paid for by the American taxpayer. Take a look at the list:

1.$172,2000 - Sher, Susan (Chief Of Staff)

2.$140,000 - Frye, Jocelyn C. (Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Policy And Projects for the First Lady)

3.$113,000 - Rogers, Desiree G. (Special Assistant to the President and White House Social Secretary)

4.$102,000 - Johnston, Camille Y. (Special Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the First Lady)

5.$102,000 - Winter, Melissa E. (Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)

6.$90,000 - Medina, David S. (Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)

7.$84,000 - Lelyveld, Catherine M. (Director and Press Secretary to the First Lady)

8.$75,000 - Starkey, Frances M. (Director of Scheduling and Advance for the First Lady)

9.$70,000 - Sanders, Trooper (Deputy Director of Policy and Projects for the First Lady)

10.$65,000 - Burnough, Erinn J. (Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary)

11.$65,000 - Reinstein, Joseph B. (Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary)

12.$62,000 - Goodman, Jennifer R. (Deputy Director of Scheduling and Events Coordinator for the First Lady)

13.$60,000 - Fitts, Alan O. (Deputy Director of Advance and Trip Director for the First Lady)

14.$60,000 - Lewis, Dana M. (Special Assistant and Personal Aide to the First Lady)

15.$52,500 - Mustaphi, Semonti M. (Associate Director and Deputy Press Secretary to the First Lady)

16.$50,000 - Jarvis, Kristen E. (Special Assistant for Scheduling and Traveling Aide To The First Lady)

17.$45,000 - Lechtenberg, Tyler A. (Associate Director of Correspondence for the First Lady)

18.$45,000 - Tubman, Samantha (Deputy Associate Director, Social Office)

19.$40,000 - Boswell, Joseph J. (Executive Assistant to the Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)

20.$36,000 - Armbruster, Sally M. (Staff Assistant to the Social Secretary)

21.$36,000 - Bookey, Natalie (Staff Assistant)

22.$36,000 - Jackson, Deilia A. (Deputy Associate Director of Correspondence for the First Lady)

This list has recently been expanded, I understand, to twenty-six attendants, including a personal make up artist and hairdresser. The price tag for Ms. Obama's ladies-in-waiting is estimated to be around $1,750,000 a year, not considering the benefit packages provided to each.  It is all being defrayed, of course, by the struggling taxpayer. 

The allowances for our new first lady's staff exceed anything we have yet seen in the history of the United States presidency. Their magnitude is inappropriate, disgusting, and obscene.

To match these imperial costs, some are wondering if perhaps we need a President for Life.  An amendment revoking the Twenty Second Amendment of the Constitution has been introduced in the House of Representatives by a member of Mr. Obama's party.  Surprise, surprise. See

Mr. Obama is a hypocrite, little more than a shuck and jive artist.  He and the leaders of his party recently lectured CEOs of the automobile industry about their finances.  But, in the midst of economic troubles for countless Americans, Barack Obama condones conspicuously profligate expenditures by his wife.  Apparently, she needs additional incentives to be "proud" of her country.  The White House, by the way, has yet to release figures concerning the costs of the First Family's end-of-summer vacation to Martha's Vineyard.

Charles Krauthammer, a leading news analyst and syndicated columnist, also happens to be an Oxford-educated psychiatrist.  He is no affirmative-action product, but the real thing.  He has boldly asserted that the forty-fourth president's narcissism knows no end.  No joke!  Recent presidents have tended to be an arrogant lot, but Mr. Obama takes the cake.  And speaking of "cake," his wife might do well to learn a few lessons from Marie Antoinette, who was also a royal figure who "lost her head" flaunting her opulent circumstances.

August 20, 2009