This website, not noted for its reliability, yet has an interesting item about the cost of vice president Joe Biden’s recent trip to London and Paris where it says that the cost for two nights came to $1 million. Why so high? Because he had an entourage that required 136 rooms in London and over 100 rooms in Paris and they were staying at expensive hotels to begin with.
I am not interested in the actual numbers but I was reminded of the 1962 film Advise and Consent that I watched just a couple of months ago. In one scene, we see the vice-president returning to Washington DC after giving a talk in New York City. He travels alone on a commercial flight and sits with all the other passengers. When they reach DC, he carries his own stuff and gets his own car from the parking lot to go home.
That seemed like a different world. I have no idea if that was a realistic portrayal of the state of affairs in 1962 though there was no reason for the filmmakers to not be realistic. This was, of course, just before the assassination of president Kennedy and it may be that that event triggered a massive increase in security for all manner of people. But we now have the spectacle of all manner of people going around with large entourages, as if the size of it was a measure of one’s importance.
This is why the behavior of the president of Uruguay and even pope Francis in cutting back on these things is a welcome development.