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How Much Will the Inauguration Cost?
Over the past four years, things seem to have gradually gotten worse.
The economy is in the dumps, we're still at war and unemployment has skyrocketed.
Retail sales numbers are down, and there seems to be only two things that Americans are spending more on - video games and the inauguration.
Obama's inauguration, which includes 10 star-studded balls with megastar concerts, is expected to cost around $150 million.
That is actually relatively small compared to the amount of money Congress and the president have already and plan to pump in the economy. Maybe it's okay because it truly will be a historic moment of change for America.
We've elected our first African-American president.
But do we really need Beyonce, Sheryl Crow and Queen Latifah to help out?
In 2005, Democratic Reps. Anthony Weiner and Jim McDermott called for Bush to tone down the festivities in light of what past presidents have done in tough times.
"President Roosevelt held his 1945 inaugural at the White House, making a short speech and serving guests cold chicken salad and plain pound cake," the two wrote Bush in a letter. "During World War I, President Wilson did not have any parties at his 1917 inaugural, saying that such festivities would be undignified."
No such requests have been made this time around, suggesting a double standard.
Obama's committee spokeswoman Linda Douglass said she thinks Americans will not see Obama's big party as excessive.
"It is not a celebration of an election," she told the Associated Press. "It is a celebration of our common values."
Perhaps it is.
And maybe in some way it will serve as a morale booster for consumers and actually help our economy.
Still, Obama stands to have spent more money on his first day in office than any other president before him, and with businesses failing, jobs evaporating and people losing their homes to foreclosure at record numbers, his big party stands to look a bit "undignified."
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