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Once, only nobles were granted an audience with the King.

In America, we’ve prided ourselves on abandoning those privileges of class some 237 years ago, following that little uprising in the 13 colonies.

And we again congratulated ourselves at 12:01 pm Eastern Time on January 20, 2009, just moments after Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States and as he committed to making his administration the most transparent and open in history.

But more than four years later it is time to ask questions. The most transparent administration ever? The most transparently political, yes. The most open government? If you have the money to buy access, yes.

Since last weekend, Mr and Mrs Regular Citizen have been denied the access people used to be granted to tour the White House, purportedly because of the clampdown on federal spending since the “sequester” that imposed cuts across the board.

These tours, most recently guided by volunteers though monitored by paid Secret Service staff, have been an American tradition since John and Abigail Adams, the first White House residents, personally hosted receptions for the public.

And their cancellation is an austerity measure that saves a pittance, while more frivolous taxpayer funding for items like the White House dog walker continues.

Read More:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/