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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Chloe Everson
Chloe Everson
Sports Editor

Hi! My name is Chloe and I am a fourth-year senior here at NMU. I am a Public Relations major and have always enjoyed sports. I love being outdoors, shopping, and drinking coffee at all hours of the...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Amelia Kashian April 18, 2024

21st-century indulgences

I’m not certain if you noticed, but the Pope made a visit to the U.S.  Three cities, specifically: New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

“OMG, it’s the effing pope!!” the ever-divided media cries, for a moment in unison, before splitting back off into their wide range of viewpoints: “Did he really dare to do that?” “Look at how wonderful he is, this dude is inspirational!” “This new-fangled pope is too in-tune with pop culture. Back to the original traditions, flee the burning rain of hellfire!”

There are a multitude of opinions of varying intensities. Now, now, people calm yourselves. We all have our prejudices, opinions and ideas both true and false. Let’s move forward from that for a moment and look at something that is relevant to the whole shazam no matter where you stand: How much is the Pope’s visit costing the U.S.? And who is paying for it?

Since we don’t have a full budget available, let’s look at what we do know to figure it out. First, we know that this three-city visit has been allocated as a national security event, which means that the government has budgeted up to $4.6 million to help cover the cost.

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However, we can safely bet that just the NYC portion of the trip will quite easily knock out our wonderful “government bucks” based on the fact that in 2008, when Pope Benedict XVI visited NYC for three days it cost the New York Police Department $6,584,637 to deal with the extra traffic and events. Not only would that amount alone demolish the government fund, but the amount of personnel required for this most recent papal visit has nearly tripled that required for Pope Benedict’s, so we can assume that the bill will be even heftier this time around. Furthermore, the Philadelphia portion of the trip has been estimated to end up costing about $48 million. So even if the NYC trip’s costs only consisted of the cost to the NYPD, and that was covered by the government, then there would still be an additional $48 million to cover, not to mention the D.C. portion.

Who is going to pay for it?

Again, we have $4.6 million funded by the government to help cover this, but who will cover the monolithic remainder? The World Meeting of Families Congress, a large Catholic gathering of families in Philadelphia, which Pope Francis partially came to the U.S. to attend, aspires to reach $45 million to help cover the visit as well, though this still will not bring the budget to a clean zero by any stretch of the imagination.

The remainder is what our tax dollars will go to covering. How much is the remainder? We don’t know.

But we’ll be paying for it, you and I, because this is somehow relevant to me, in an Upper Michigan college working a part-time job to afford my education, far away from NYC, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. The only people benefiting fiscally from this visit (other than potentially a few governmental figures, based on how jacked these figures are when looking at someone, leader of the Catholic church or not, visiting the U.S. for less than a week) are the businesses, such as hotels and restaurants, that were frequented more often because of the influx of people who want to be near the pope.

In the end, I just want to know why this is something that will be paid for from our pockets.

The costs of his visit are to the cities visited, and if they were unable to afford it, I think that some better budgeting should have happened before considering it our responsibility.

Are we responsible immediately simply because he was invited to speak at Congress? I can see why that would be considered more relevant to us, since it is directly related to the leadership of our country.

But that still does not explain why we are covering the needs of cities that have received the influx of people visiting to see the Pope. Welcoming the Pope to visit us does not equate American citizens footing the majority of the bill. Or at least, it should not, in my opinion.

While some may debate that the Pope’s visit brings an enriching cultural experience and beneficial political connections to our country, I still do not agree that that means this money should come from our tax dollars.

Imagine a hypothetical situation: your roommate hosts a party in your apartment and orders pizza for it on your credit card because they assumed you’d be thankful they had so many cool people over, and then if you protest, they say that they actually needed your money because they couldn’t afford it themselves.

Pretend for me that was a perfect metaphor and just think about it for a while.

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