Home > Uncategorized > Inauguration costs: how quickly Americans forget

Inauguration costs: how quickly Americans forget

Remember how Democratic politicians–understandably so–complained about the multi-million dollar cost of President Bush’s 2004 inauguration?

Representatives Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) and Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) wrote letters to Bush in 2005 asking him to be frugal in respect to the tough economic times then. They cited how President Roosevelt served “cold chicken salad” and “plain pound cake” at his 1945 inaugural. (It makes you wonder what types of inaugural festivities Roosevelt had in 1933 and 1937, when the nation was deep in the Great Depression instead of on the brink of ending World War II).

I wonder what they think of the estimated $109 million cost of Barack Obama’s inauguration.

AP writer Matt Apuzzo reports the inauguration will cost as much as estimated $150 million with Obama’s inaugural committee raising more than $41 million. That still leaves an estimated bill of $109 million, presumably to be paid by taxpayers.

According a Newsbusters.org article,ย Bush’s 2005 inauguration cost about $40 million while the AP is being encouraged now, despite the tougher economic times, to “For inaugural balls, go for glitz, forget economy.”

So much for objective journalism. Americans indeed have a very short memory.

Whether the economic times are good or bad or whether it’s a conservative or liberal in office, I think these celebrations should be subdued. Why not instead base the ceremonies entirely on the amount of private funds raised?

  1. bearstew
    January 20, 2009 at 8:11 am

    You have to remember that when the Dems. do something they have the greater good in mind. Now if the Rep. due the same thing they are just greedy crooked politicians out to put all of America in the poor house.

  2. January 20, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    Sad to say, you and “Newsbusters” are comparing apples to oranges.

    The $41million number you’re using for Pres. Bush’s 2005 inauguration only includes only the festivities (balls, concerts, etc. – covered by private donations).

    The $150million you’re using for Pres. Obama includes festivities (also covered privately raised funds) and security (Secret Service, police, etc.).

    To compare apples-to-apples you ought to add Bush’s $41mil festivites to Bush’s $115.5mil security costs… About $157 million.

    And, yes, Presidential security (whether Bush or Obama) is covered by we taxpayers.

    PS – “Newsbusters” isn’t always the most accurate source of information, unless “spin” is what you’re after. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  3. January 20, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    @bear: haha, nice tongue-in-cheek, bro-in-law.

    @rob: I’m posting your comment, but next time please read the post and the links before commenting. It’s very clear from your post that you didn’t. Aside from citing “apples and oranges” when it sounds like you wouldn’t know a Granny Smith from your typical Golden Delicious, I’m sure you’re a nice guy.

  4. January 20, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    @zowie: Then I must’ve missed the part where you mentioned how much security cost for Bush’s inaugural … because the two presidents actually did “base the ceremonies entirely on the amount of private funds raised”. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    It’s the security costs which are so high — for both the 2005 and 2009 events. But the two totals are right in line with each other (Bush at $157mil and Obama at $150-160mil).

    As to wanting the celebrations to be subdued, that’s certainly your right to advocate for that. But at least acknowledge the two inaugural celebrations aren’t that different in cost, despite the conservatives’ spin.

    And I prefer oranges to apples anyway, though my kids like Granny Smiths and my wife’s a big fan of Honeycrisps. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. January 20, 2009 at 11:12 pm


    Actually, I must indeed apologize–a big chunk of Obama’s is indeed the security costs. Estimates say that Obama’s inauguration is approximately $5 million more than what Bush’s was. Please disregard my chastising you for not reading the posts more thoroughly. Sounds like I could use my own advice! :O ๐Ÿ˜€

    My beef is that the same people who (understandably so) complained about Bush’s expenses in 2004 seem silent now. Myself, I wonder why all candidates can’t just simply limit the festivities themselves to what they can raise through private donations. Or better yet, have things nice and modest and put the money to better use elsewhere.


    p.s. I love orange juice; when it comes to apples, I’m an absolute sucker for Golden Delicious. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. January 20, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    Zowie sez: “My beef is that the same people who (understandably so) complained about Bushโ€™s expenses in 2004 seem silent now.”

    Agreed. But likewise all the Republicans who dismissed the spin 4 years ago have turned 180ยฐ to repeat that same spin now, and are resorting to the apples-n-oranges malarkey to boot (rotten ones at that, I say).

    Zowie sez 2: “Myself, I wonder why all candidates canโ€™t just simply limit the festivities themselves to what they can raise through private donations.”

    But they do. Bush raised $42million for his 2005 bash. Obama raised $43’ish for his 2009 bash.

    I’ve said it elsewhere — if the folks with money don’t spend their money all those hotels, restaurants, shops, vendors, etc. aren’t going to make any money … and we all sink further.

    Zowie sex 3: “Or better yet, have things nice and modest and put the money to better use elsewhere.”

    To an extent, Obama’s been asking his bigger donors (as well as his unprecendented volunteer base) to do that too. The Obama “campaign” has sent out a whole bunch of emails and text messages asking folks to devote time and contributions to civic projects, and not just for King Day but well before that too.

    But the security costs are what they are in this modern day. Even if Obama just got up there at noon today and said “Thanks y’all” we’d still be paying for Secret Service, police, armored cars, etc.

    Cheers RZ!

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