Sunday, January 18, 2009

Obama's Costly Inauguration!

People are being evicted from their homes, unemployment is up, the stock market is down, we have homeless on the streets and the inauguration of President Barack Obama is going to cost $150 million!

And, I really don't care. Spend it! Party hard! Celebrate!

This money could be used to feed the homeless or fight aids and help people make their house payment. Yea, but we also need to party. Anyway most of the money is from private donors. If they were not spending it on this big party they probably wouldn't be spending it. We have no claim to the money of rich Democrats who are spending their own money.

That portion of the money that is spend by the city of D.C or the State of Virginia is an investment in tourism. Any government of a tourist destination spends public funds on safety. It is a public investment. That money spend by the Federal government I don't begrudge. We need to spend funds for ceremonial operations of government. Why do we have all of those military bands? This is their chance to play.

Anyway, this spending is an economic stimulus with a multiplier effect probably greater than the multiplier effect of the public funds that Congress will soon appropriate. Florist, hairdressers, hotels, restaurants, cab drivers, waiters, chefs, souvenir vendors, designers of ball gowns and many, many more will earn income from the event. So a big party is good economic activity.

I just want to point out that the inauguration is by far the most costly in history costing $150 million in the worst of economic times since the great depression. The Bush inauguration in 2005, by comparison, cost about $70 million which was then the most costly to date. Many Democrats were critical of the cost of the Bush inauguration. When Reagan was inaugurated, Mrs. Reagan was severely criticized for wearing a $10,000 gown to one of the balls. I promise not to criticize the cost of Michelle's gown.

If you are a Democrat, ask yourself if you would be complaining about this expensive party if the shoe was on the other foot. In today's economic hard times, if John McCain had been elected and it was the Republican team spending this kind of money on a party, what would you be saying? I know it is hard to believe, but their will be another Republican inauguration someday. So, if you are not bitching about the cost of this party, don't bitch when it is our turn.

I know it is a hopeless quest to try to get sanctimonious hypocritical liberals to see their contradictions, but I like to try.

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  1. Hi Rod,

    Casual reader, first time poster (that I can recall at least...).

    The cost for the inauguration apparently is being reported rather casually, and perhaps inaccurately.

    I have heard that in fact, the inauguration festivities for President-elect Barack Obama are "estimated to reach as high as $150 million," while "[i]n 2004, to note, the inauguration of George W. Bush cost roughly $40 million." But the $40 million figure that is cited for Bush's second inauguration reportedly does not include security and transportation costs incurred by the federal government and the District of Columbia; these costs are included in the $150 million estimate that the media are reporting for the Obama inauguration. (

    Take it with a grain of salt, as with all political "facts" out there, but it is a legitimate concern whenever comparisons are made that the two subjects are compared correctly...

  2. Thanks Robert,
    I wanted to make sure I was comparing apples to apples. The figure I used of $70 million for the Bush inauguration includes the cost of security and the cost to the city of D.C. Rod

  3. Your numbers disagree with other reports in the press. For example, on January 6th, the New York Times reported:

    In 2005, Mr. Bush raised $42.3 million from about 15,000 donors for festivities; the federal government and the District of Columbia spent a combined $115.5 million, most of it for security, the swearing-in ceremony, cleanup and for a holiday for federal workers.

    So, I'm not sure where you got the quote of $70 million, but it conflicts with other reports, such as Media Matters and the New York Times.

    Can you provide a reference to your source?

    I suspect some of this may come from not looking at all the costs. For example, in the BBC article about Bush's inauguration,

    It mentions that the Bush Inauguration had an estimated price tag of $40 million, with an additional $17 million provided by the city of Washington, but that doesn't include any of the costs covered by the Federal Government.

    I also mention the BBC article because it has an interesting article about criticism of the 2004 inauguration:

    The overt criticism of an inauguration is unusual, but a Washington Post poll found that a majority of Americans would prefer a smaller, more subdued event.

    I must admit, my preference is for smaller celebrations, but I think the criticism of Obama's inauguration is misguided in that it is based on faulty information, and at best comes across as the 'sour grapes' of losers.

    I will also note that another mitigating factor is that some of the inauguration costs are going to an effort by the Presidential Inauguration Committee to promote community service.

    This has been a key focus of the Obama campaign which I hope will become a key focus of the Obama administration.

  4. I am guessing that most people are critical of the expense of tomorrow's inauguration primarily because of the state of the economy. I would feel this way--particularly at this time--whether it was Obama or McCain who was being inaugurated. We need our President to set an example of frugality and we all need to follow it.

  5. Orient,
    The figure of $70 million is widely reported. Here is one source from the liberal Salon:
    However, there are various ways to calculate the cost and unless an auditor audited both it would be difficult to know. Anyway, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume the Bush inauguration was $115 million. That does not change the point I was making. Obama's party is still considerably more costly than previous inaugurations and I don't care. I am not complaining. Let Obama's party cost $200 million, I don't care. But if one was critical of the $115 million +/- spent for the Bush party, they should be critical of the $160 million Obama party. And at some future time,if the Repubs thow a $250 million party, those who did not complain about this expense should keep quite.

  6. The Salon report is based on an estimate of "roughly $20 million being spent this week by the federal government".

    This is a long way from the "combined $115.5 million, most of it for security" that "the federal government and the District of Columbia spent" that the New York Times reports.

    The $115 million, together with the $42 million that the Bush IC raised is pretty similar to the $150 million that I'm hearing reported for the Obama inauguration, even though the Obama inauguration is expected to draw five times as many people.

    Personally, I find it very surprising that Republicans are now calling for less spending on security.

    Again, while I would like to see some of this money redirected to addressing poverty, just as I would have liked to have seen a lot of money from our national defenses redirected to addressing poverty in the past, I just can't see a real concern here, other than the concern similar to that expressed by Judas about oil being used to anoint Jesus, that could have been used to help the poor.

  7. Orient,
    You and I are not disagreeing. And, I have not heard any Republicans condemn the money spend on security. Like I have said, I don’t care how much the inauguration cost. I have simply pointed out the hypocrisy of those who where critical of the price tag of Republican expenditures on their party and have said if you are not going to condemn the price tag for this party, don’t condemn the price tag of some future Republican party. Spending money on a party is a good economic stimulus. And, a lot of the expenditure is money that rich people are spending from their own funds. I have no claim to the money of rich people.