Is Obama’s Inauguration TOO EXPENSIVE?


President Barack Obama’s inauguration next week is set to be the most expensive ever, predicted to reach over $150m. This dwarfs the $42.3m spent on George Bush’s inauguration in 2005 and the $33m spent on Bill Clinton’s in 1993.

Mayor Adrian Fenty agreed that costs for increased security and crowd control would dwarf the original allocation. And for a city facing a budget shortfall and the same economic downturn affecting the rest of the country, now is not the time to rack up debt, Fenty told CNN.

Contrast that with coverage of President Bush’s last inauguration:

President Bush’s second inauguration will cost tens of millions of dollars — $40 million alone in private donations for the balls, parade and other invitation-only parties. With that kind of money, what could you buy?
■ 200 armored Humvees with the best armor for troops in Iraq.
■ Vaccinations and preventive health care for 22 million children in regions devastated by the tsunami.
■ A down payment on the nation’s deficit, which hit a record-breaking $412 billion last year….
The questions have come from Bush supporters and opponents: Do we need to spend this money on what seems so extravagant?

New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, a Democrat, suggested inaugural parties should be scaled back, citing as a precedent Roosevelt’s inauguration during World War II.

“President Roosevelt held his 1945 inaugural at the White House, making a short speech and serving guests cold chicken salad and plain pound cake,” according to a letter from Weiner and Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash. “During World War I, President Wilson did not have any parties at his 1917 inaugural, saying that such festivities would be undignified.”…

Barack Obama’s big shindig will cost more than three times as much money. Perhaps it’s time that President-elect Obama be held accountable for something?

-600 to 700 more armored Hummvees
-Vaccinations for 70+ MILLION CHILDREN
-1/100th of the Democrats’ Congress’ deficit


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I have too many wankathon jokes left to leave now.

Of course, this extravagance was also helped along by a last bit of budgetary fecklessness from Bush. He declared a federal disaster in DC in order to get some FEMA money for the inauguration (link. Was it really a disaster? Was this FEMA’s mission? No one in government cares, after all it’s not their money that’s being pissed away. I imagine Bush was worried that underfunding the festivities would have resulted in some serious problems (what with two million people showing up), but rather than asking the responsible parties to pony up enough money to cover expenses he just reached for a few tens of millions of taxpayer money that was handy. Sadly, this will probably look fiscally conservative in four years’ time.

Greetings. I am a former United States Navy Ceremonial Guardsman. I marched in President Clinton’s first Inaugural. I have the background to chime in on this.

It is important to realize that the Inauguration is not really a national holiday about President Obama. The Inauguration is a celebration of our American identity, the Democratic, peaceful, transition of power, to a leader, elected, and representative of the American people. In the process we honor both the outgoing President, as we honor the incoming President, in addition to the very core of what a Democracy is about. This celebration should be as visible as possible, as we should offer the world our example, to let people that do not understand the concept of freedom, as those living under the oppressed thumb of dictatorships. People should not fear their governments, governments should fear their people.

This ideal must be protected at all costs. This means improved security against those who are less tolerant of our American identity. It also means joining as Americans behind the current President and heal some of the divisions created during the Presidential Elections. (As a former Republican, I still find it hard to believe that the McCain camp had the audacity to call Barack Obama, a sitting United States Senator, a terrorist. Especially when Sarah Palin’s husband belonged to an organization – the Alaska Independence Party – that desires to this day to secede from the USA and become it’s own country. I digress.)

So there may be a number of bitter Republicans that say that the Presidential Inauguration cost too much. In doing so, they fail to recognize the true purpose of the celebration itself and rob us of our identity. It is there to say that we are proud to be Americans, this is who we are. It needs to be shouted it from the rooftops. Two Million braving the cold to shouted it on the National Mall, 10,000 made their statement marching in the parade, and many more behind the scenes to make it happen. The pride of this event rippled through our country as many more watched it on TV at a time when we really need to feel better about ourselves. Revitalization of our National Spirit is exactly what we needed, and what we did. Let the rest of the world pay attention. This is who we are!

Money well spent!

@Saul Rosenberg:

Mr. Rosenberg,

Thank you for your service to our nation.

Perhaps it’s your newness to this site or some other misjudgment of what FA is all about, but I sincerely hope that you don’t think the quote below will go unchallenged:

As a former Republican, I still find it hard to believe that the McCain camp had the audacity to call Barack Obama, a sitting United States Senator, a terrorist.

Please point me to where anyone in the McCain camp, whether the candidates, or their staff members referred to Senator Obama as a “terrorist”.

If you are unable to support that claim, you need to retract your false accusation.

Finally, the Inauguration celebration could have been significantly scaled back to a point that would have made it more fiscally responsible without losing its’ value to the American culture.

The reality of the extravagance we saw, and paid for, yesterday flies in the face of claims that this country is on the precipice of some sort of economic collapse.

It’ll be interesting to see what the final cost is on the inauguration given the clean up costs