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Your Opinion: Government waste and extravagance

Dear Editor:

A March 22 Weekly Standard article disclosed Joe Biden’s retinue. In Paris, a one-night stay cost $500,000 for 100 rooms. A second night in London: 136 rooms for $459,330.

Don’t we have embassies in Paris and London with a few extra rooms? Don’t we have guards, secure transportation and communications already there? Just the expense of those two nights could have opened up the White House to visitors for two weeks. Could the cost of the entire trip have kept it open to visitors for a full year? The unending waste and extravagance of this administration might be matched only by the French kings of the House of Bourbon. Louis XIV started it off.

In 1665 a Denmark-Norway written constitution called Kongeloven (“King’s Law”) announced “[the monarch] shall from this day forth be revered and considered the most perfect and supreme person on the Earth by all his subjects, standing above all human laws and having no judge above his person, neither in spiritual or temporal matters, except God alone ...” (The Danish King immediately disbanded the elected Council of the Realm).

In France, the kings emulated the Danish. The absolute monarchies of Louis XIV, XV and XVI lasted for 149 years combined. “The King[s] of France concentrated in his person legislative, executive, and judicial powers. He was the supreme judicial authority. He could condemn men to death without the right of appeal. It was both his duty to punish offenses and stop them from being committed. From his judicial authority followed his power both to make laws and to annul them.” The Institutions of France under the Absolute Monarchy, 1598-2012 V1. Mousnier, R. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1979. Louis XIV (the Sun King) moved his court, partisans, and the entire government to Versailles, a country village south of Paris. The spending spree started and it became a magnificent “castle”: 2,000 acres; 230 acres of gardens, 721,206 square feet of living space with 2,300 rooms, 67 staircases, 6,123 paintings, 2,162 sculptures, and 5,210 pieces of furniture/art objects.

The French Revolution began in 1789 and in 1793 Louis XVI (The Restorer of French Liberty) was shown the way out. Emperor Napoleon I took control in 1814. The Hall of Mirrors was adorned with gold furniture. The golden furniture is now gone from the museum. Versailles cost the French people 3.1 billion in 2012 dollars.

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