The Market

How living in the White House is basically like renting in New York

By Virginia K. Smith | March 3, 2015 - 9:59AM 

So, you spent the entire weekend watching House of Cards, rushed home from work last night to watch even more, and now you find that your thinking is a little, well, "distorted"? You've started to forget where Frank Underwood ends and you begin? We won't lie, that's a little unsettling, but at least you're not alone (as long as you don't start pushing your enemies in front of the subway). In a Netflix-induced haze, we got to thinking about all the ways our lives really aren't so different from your average sitting president, at least as far as our living situations are concerned. Think about it:

  • There's absolutely no privacy. A constant parade of strangers in your house: probably not so different from living with Tinder-happy roommates.
  • You're pretty locked into white paint. Come to think of it, the mandate on this is probably harsher in the White House than on your average lease—in a rental, you can do whatever you want with the paint, as long as you switch it back to white before you move.
  • Mysterious SUVs are always parked outside. But in your case, it's just that guy who's always using his car stereo to blast Reggaeton in the summer.
  • Pretty much any food is available with the push of a button. Just by Seamless, not a private chef.
  • Your occupancy has an end date. Rent hikes are arguably a worse gauntlet than re-election.
  • There's a private bowling alley. If you clear out the length of your railroad apartment, that is.
  • You're being watched. Between the security cams in your lobby and those mornings where the subway is mysteriously filled with uniformed men with guns, you're pretty much always under surveillance. 
  • The vetting process is exhaustive. Granted, a rental application takes less time than your average election cycle, but it still involves divulging every detail of your financial, professional, and personal life to total strangers.


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