FDR Spent Other People’s Money Freely, But Was Stingy with His Own

(p. 75) . . . when Roosevelt was spending his own money, he was sometimes very stingy. For example, when Roosevelt traveled by train from Washington to Hyde Park, he always wanted a private car for himself and his staff: Servicing this private car, which might include providing dozens of meals, newspapers, and various amenities for the president and his staff would require great diligence and attention to detail. But for round-trip service on Roosevelt’s private car, he tipped the porter a mere five dollars. The reporters. on their car nearby, combined to tip eight to ten times more than the president did. Walter Trohan of the Chicago Tribune observed the unhappiness this created:

FDR wasn’t a heavy tipper at any time, but was less so aboard trains. He gave five dollars to the porter on his car for the round trip from Washington to Hyde Park, which included payment for what guests he might have in his car. In the press car we each gave two dollars for the trip, but there were about twenty of us all told. Sam [Mitchell, the porter] soon begged off the private car; the honor of serving the President faded for a man raising a family and sending a boy to college as well as paying for a home, when he could count on forty dollars in the press car as against five dollars in the private car.

Folsom, Burton W., Jr. New Deal or Raw Deal? How FDR’s Economic Legacy Has Damaged America. New York: Threshold Editions, 2008.
(Note: italics in original; ellipsis added.)

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