Skip to comments.Some Now Question Cost of Inauguration
Posted on 01/13/2005 7:20:49 PM PST by alessandrofiaschi
WASHINGTON - 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.
_Two years' salary for the Mets' new center fielder Carlos Beltran, or all of pitcher Randy Johnson's contract extension with the New York Yankees.
Weeks ago, the inauguration and its accompanying costs were considered a given, an historic ceremony with all the pomp, pageantry and celebrations that the nation had come to expect every four years.
But a recent confluence of events the tsunami natural disaster, Bush's warning about Social Security finances and the $5 billion-a-month price tag for the war in Iraq have many Americans now wondering why spend the money the second time around.
While the Presidential Inaugural Committee hopes to raise $40 million in private donations for the balls, parades and candlelight dinners for high-roller donors, millions of government dollars will be spent on construction of the platform and stands at the Capitol, police overtime, military personnel and the tightest security for the first post-Sept. 11 inaugural.
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, voting record), D-Wash. "During World War I, President Wilson did not have any parties at his 1917 inaugural, saying that such festivities would be undignified."
Lawmakers representing the Washington area have complained to the White House about the District of Columbia not getting enough federal help to cover the estimated $17.3 million security costs of the inaugural.
Organizers of the inaugural defended the celebration.
"The inauguration of a United States president is one of America's greatest traditions, a tradition that transcends partisan politics," said Tracey Schmitt, a spokeswoman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee. "Our theme is celebrating freedom and honoring service."
She cited the Commander in Chief inaugural ball that offers free tickets to service members back from Afghanistan and Iraq and their family members. That ball is one of nine; the other eight require a ticket.
"Every inaugural there's a really good reason given why you should spend whatever donors are sending in on something else," said Rich Galen, a veteran Republican activist, saying many of the complaints come from the losers of the election.
Billionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the National Basketball Association's Dallas Mavericks, voted for Bush twice. Cuban knows a thing or two about big spending, once starring in ABC's reality TV show, "The Benefactor," in which 16 contenders tried to pass his test for success and win $1 million.
Cuban questioned spending all that money on the inaugural.
"As a country, we face huge deficits. We face a declining economy. We have service people dying. We face responsibilities to help those suffering from the ... devastation of the tsunamis," he wrote on his blog, a Web journal.
Cuban challenged Bush to set an example: "Start by canceling your inauguration parties and festivities."
EDITOR'S NOTE: Will Lester covers polling and politics for The Associated Press.
It's so horrible when people spend their own money in a manner that the AP doesn't approve of.
good points. But this is a tough call.
Except .. if this were a Kerry inauguration - would this subject even be spoken of .. I think NOT! That's why they can go pound sand!!! I don't care what it costs!
Will Lester is a lefty hack trying to make a big deal out of nothing.
Oh yes, I agree, but that's not my point. We, the Republicans should be for SMALL GOVERNMENT, and this event is a shining example of the contrary, IF it will be used Federal cash money (and DC's citizens tax money).
Did you or the press speak out when Clinton was having the party? or when he spent $40 million to take his family and a 100% democratic delegation to China? or dig a tunnel for traffic in Boston?
$40 million alone in private donations
Once again the liberals want to tell people how to spend their money. Their own pocket money. Not their tax money, mind you, which gets spent by others whether we like it or not. This is plain hypocrisy on the liberals part. Not one penny of theirs is being spent in this $40 million but they can see such better uses for this money. I can too. Destroy the pro-abortion lobby. Now, get out of my face liberals and go to that party that Ted is throwing.
Well .. you don't have to agree .. but that's my point. If this was a democrat president this "cost" would not even be a factor .. that's why it's NOT AN ISSUE. The very fact that the govt cannot spend money to celebrate a national election is just beyond lunacy.
And .. you can bet your sweet bippy that the "shove it" person would NOT HAVE PAID FOR HER OWN GOWNS.
Both of Clinton's inaugurations were close to 30 million each, the first "in the worst American economy in 50 years" or so he said. Bush hardly had an inauguration in his first term and if DC can't spend a small part of that 250 million dollars in HSA grants on security then there needs to be an investigation into why not.
Funny...I don't remember any such squawking from the Leftist media at Carter's or Clinton's inaugural expenses...
Would the same complainers have told Kerry to have an inauguration "on the cheap"?
Why can't we give to the tsunami victims, AND have a party?
And, please! Mark Cuban, who gave a million dollars to some lame reality show, has a lot of room to complain about how money's being spent.
Liberal BS. If Kerry got elected, the parties would be limitless.
This whining is simply a leftist tactic to suck the joy out of the festivities. I am ignoring it, as this is what they do about anything to do with Republicans.
Exactly right, dirtboy. :o)
"good points. But this is a tough call."
Let me help you in your "recovery" Ex-Hippie.
This is NOT a tough call. Inagurations are paid for with PRIVATE funds. While we're honoring and congradulating President Bush and Laura Bush & Dick & Lynne Cheney, it's technically OUR party, paid for by those of means within our society. (Of which there are many, because WE ROCK!)
Were that 40 million not spent on this par-tay, it certainly wouldn't be going to anything else other than a new mansion or a few new beemers by the folks that can afford to PRIVATELY fund this stuff with their DISPOSABLE income. This is a collective "drop in the bucket" when the GDP of your country (mostly generated by those that are funding this par-tay) is in the trillions of dollars each year. Chump Change. Money you find on the sidewalk on any given day, etc.
Apples and oranges. I'll NEVER understand the arguments that state, "Well, if that money wasn't spend on 'A' then it COULD have been spent on 'B'." Life does not work that way. This is how this hard working, priviledged handful of wealthy, successful Americans want to spend their $40 million. I'm just gonna sit back, crack a brewski and enjoy the festivities on their dime. :)
Does anyone think that we would hear this crap if it was for Kerry?
Who takes home the money to pay for food on their table?
The money doesn't get burned up -- it goes to people who earned it.
Clinton had big parties, tents on the White House Lawn, and huge formal dinners in the White House all through his eight years in office. He never stopped wining and dining the Washington press corps. And all that was at taxpayer expensive. Clinton is also estimated to have spent a good part of a billion dollars flying thousands of his hangers-on around the world at taxpayer expense. Hillary had a government plane to campaign in at taxpayer expense, even though she held no public office.
I'd say all these liberal reporters are bad because Bush's friends are giving him a big party at their own expense, and NONE OF THEM ARE INVITED.
bad = mad.
I also should have added, "Read it and weep, freeloaders!"
I doubt that the security costs for Clinton's inauguration were much less. The media exagerrates everything negative towards the President.
He isn't asking for anything unusual. The same swearing-in ceremony, parade, and balls were done for last three presidents.
Whining about this is silly, and is designed to make Republicans apologetic. Please remember Clinton's inauguration, when there was a decided air of gloating and excess.
I refuse to think we should scale this back. Kerry would never have done so if he had won.
We are winning.
The ceremony shows our strength.
Every military unit has formal ceremonies each year for just that reason....to show they are strong, organized, and healthy.
Not a lot of money, when you think about it.
and this money goes into the pockets of working people - and small businesses -
if we follow the (ill)logic of these "what else could be done with this $" jerks - well, let's see, since it's private donating given just for this purpose - and there wouldn't be 40 mill otherwise, then it's a moot point.
If we all followed this ridiculous thinking, then why do any of us do anything? Why do we have dinner parties? Why do we go shopping, go on vacation???/etc?
Think what could be done with all that money. (sarcasm)
I think, in the light of the hundreds of millions the American people are giving to the Tsunami victims rather counterbalances a few million to have a celebration - for all the world to see - of our free system of government. and - that the money goes to hardworking people - not just disappears into Washington
We should take back the surplus tsunami money (since they don't want us anymore) and give it to the President so he will be "comfortable". ;-)
This is a tough one. One can only watch so many hollywood gala events where they decry this excess without it affecting you. Can that many people in expensive suits and limousines be that wrong?
That's the message Michael Savage wants to send.
It's fundamentally incorrect on all counts. I hate to tell you, but $40 million ain't squat anymore. I can spend that drilling a couple of onshore gas wells which end up being dry holes.
You are a poseur. Possibly a troll. Drop this, or get monitored by the Viking Kitties.
A big celebration is not the same thing as big government.
Would you rather have the security people be on unemployment?
I would have great respect for the President if he scaled down the balls and festivities in a time of war and natural disasters.
DC pays as it should. They received 250 million bucks from HSA for SECURITY If they can't afford it then the DC government needs to be audited post haste.
This cost is borne by voluntary contributions from ciizens, not by taxes.
We are the greatest country on earth and we have to act accordingly.
Mary Lincoln's gown for the 1865 inauguration (held while a war was still going on and Washington DC was in a war zone) cost $2,000 at that time, which would make it, what, a couple million in 2005 dollars. Compared to that, Laura Bush's gown is bargain basement.
Pay attention, I'm not a troll. I'n fact I'm a conservative and a friend of Meek. Sometimes, I wonder why some people are unable to discuss. Please, don't fooling around.
ciizens = citizens
I think it is ridiculous to inaugurate a sitting president. But I don't recall all this kerfluffle when Clintoon had his second.
Perhaps you're not listening/reading. A number of freepers have posted that the $$ is made up of PRIVATE DONATIONS. What do you not understand about that?
"With that kind of money, what could you buy?"
Well, I imagine BJ Klintoon who spent about the same amount while Kosovo was raging, Osama was running around and Mohammed Atta and assorted nasties were having their goat, weak Willie probably spent a lot of his money on lap dances, hiring interns and he DID have a hell of an Inaugural party.
I was answering to Miss Marple, not to anyboby else.
For one thing, all the hoopla isn't really for the President - it's for US - the US in the U.S.
Bush would probably be happy to be home on the ranch clearing brush...
This is a tradition - a celebration of our way of life and our freedom -
The nay sayers are the ones who - like Thoreau would say, would find fault with the morning red - if they ever got up early enough....
You sure you did the math right, hon?
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