Jan. 19, 2009—
The country is in the middle of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, which isn't stopping rich donors and the government from spending $170 million, or more, on theinauguration of Barack Obama .
The actual swearing-in ceremony will cost $1.24 million, according to Carole Florman, spokeswoman for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.
It's the security, parties and countless Porta-a-Potty rentals that really run up the bill.
The federal government estimates that it will spend roughly $49 million on the inaugural weekend. Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland have requested another $75 million from the federal government to help pay for their share of police, fire and medical services.
And then there is the party bill.
"We have a budget of roughly $45 million, maybe a little bit more," said Linda Douglass, spokeswoman for the inaugural committee.
That's more than the $42.3 million in private funds spent by President Bush's committee in 2005 or the $33 million spent for Bill Clinton's first inaugural in 1993.
[Ed. Note: Article abbreviated to cure copyright violation]
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I voted for Obama but I'm still not too happy with this extravaganza. It proves once again that those in Washington D.C. remain out of touch with the rest of America.
Status Quo anyone?
I'm glad he's starting the "economic stimulous" early, and I'm really not surprised.
Afterall, "change" has come!
The Right is no longer stealing your money and blowing it on up-armored Cadillacs while the troops scrape by with HMMWV's from the 1980's... the LEFT is! And THAT is change!
All I've got to say is this:
If Obama was Nero, he'd be playing a harp, not having a party.
"Let them eat cake."
The Iraq war is costing $100,000 a MINUTE.... http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2002780385_spending03.html
I don't think Obama's litt;e party is going to break the bank, do you?
What's a few (4, 5, 6, 7?) orders of magnitude between friends..?
The point isn't whether it's going to break the bank, the bank is already broken, it's a matter of principal. Many people have and will lose their jobs this year, states are broke, people are losing their homes, I really don't see anything to party about. Since Obama is being advised by Keynesions and is now the leader of a bankrupt country maybe he is setting an example of spending and consuming, that's how we will solve the problem by doing the same thing that caused it.
When your planning on spending trillions, a few hundred million is just chump change, but to me it's a bad sign of things to come.
I better start building a guillotine.
He's just doing his part to 'stimulate' the economy.
Greg and JK121,
Your comments are solid gold.
This isn't even about Obama - it is, as was mentioned just a matter of principle.
Our government is completely ignoring open wounds that are draining our economy, so..... what do they do?
Pop open the champaign and celebrate.
Why? What has he done? Why doesn't he do the G**Damn work before he starts the party?
Maybe I'm old fashioned, but you don't eat your cake until after you've choked down your broccoli.
When Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated, he sought to dismantle the evolving Federalist tradition of pomp and circumstance. In a ceremonial sense, royalism seemed to have been restored, or so it appeared to him. As this blogger put it, "Dressed in simple attire, Jefferson walked over to the Capitol with a phalanx of riflemen, friends, and fellow citizens from his home state of Virginia."
In these last days of the American Empire, such austere republicanism would be considered impossibly quaint. Having long ago morphed into Jefferson's worst nightmare, the closer we get to the end, the more glamorous our inaugurals become. The poorer we are, the more millions we'll throw at a ceremony that is really the crowning of a monarch – and not just any old king, but an emperor bestriding the globe.
The point isn't whether it's going to break the bank, the bank is already broken, it's a matter of principal. Many people have and will lose their jobs this year, states are broke, people are losing their homes
Well, think of all the people who were employed today.... thousands of them.. who can keep their homes a little longer.
Like I said... want to save a heap of money? Get out of Iraq.
Here is an interesting article on this matter (see link below). Turns out the media reports have not included the public costs in the Clinton and Bush inaugurations. For Bush you need to add 115 million in public costs to the 42 million in private costs to total $157million then inflation adjust it (about 11% for the last 4 years using the low numbers the feds produce) and that is equivalent to $174 million for Bush, bringing Obama in at $4million less! Now do the cost per participant and get an even better measure of value (just people who showed up, not TV audience, which was world wide for Obama not for Bush).
Bush estimates for 2005 attendance are around 250,000 to 400,000
Obama estimates for 2009 are around 2.5 to 3 million people
Taking the low ball number we get a per participant rate for the 2 inaugurations of:
Bush 2005 = $696 per person in 2009 dollars
Obama 2009 = $68 per person also in 2009 dollars
Well, when you start comparing apples to apples it looks pretty good for the Obama inauguration and there wasn't any doubt that he actually won (some question about where he was born..)!
Should the US be spending that kind of money promoting an imperial presidency? I would prefer that we didn't (especially during this economic crisis), but at least with Obama we are headed in the right direction: less cost!
"Like I said... want to save a heap of money? Get out of Iraq."
Get our military out of all the countries they are occupying, stop foreign aid including Israel, we're bankrupt, we need to take care of ourselves first.
I think it's a waste of money no matter who the president is.
"Isn't Justin Raimondo that lapsed catholic, failed politican, totally gay guy that supported Ralph Nader for President?"
Not being catholic, a failed politician, gay, and supporting Ralph Nader are not necessarily bad things.
Michelle Cottle at the New Republic defends the extravagance:
argue that the current anxiety and pessimism people are feeling make a
large-scale, communal moment of celebration all the more important. In
general, during tough times, people crave a little glamour and
is a reason that the Great Depression spawned a Hollywood glut of
high-society comedies.) More specifically, when there is an uneasy
sense that our nation is
struggling, people need to be reminded of its greatness. We need to
feel like our best times are yet to come. We need spectacle. We need
uplift. We need pomp and ceremony and, yes, silly whistle stop tours
and cheesy speeches that self-consciously remind us how far we have
come. It may not be entirely rational--and perhaps even a tad
counterproductive. But it's also human nature."
I agree, let's get out of Iraq and do whatever else we can to end the US overseas empire and focus our efforts on home. I think Obama will live up to his campaign promise and leave Iraq. I don't know about the rest of the Empire. I doubt his efforts at home will be as helpful as the country hopes, but hopefully he won't keep on that track once he sees it's not working.
Mike and Greg,
Unfortunately, "don't go into Iraq" would have been a better policy. Without a prolongued presence there, we're going to see radical Islam take root, and it may well be another hotbed for not only anti-westernism, but this fanatical orthodoxy which truly is a threat to global stability.
To use a basic analogy, we've dug ourselves quite a hole in Iraq, and we're filling it with American ideas. Say what you will, but it's a step forward from the regressive doctrine espoused by some of Iraq's neighbors. If we remove our "influence" from the hole we dug, it will allow another violent, dangerous regime to spring up in place; Saddam Hussein himself was a guerilla from an era of similar instability.
To make brief, I think if we leave Iraq, we'll see the same thing we saw with the Taleban after the Soviets left. They brought on a sort of ultra-orthodoxy and ousted the drug runners and criminals, but now women aren't allow to be educated, and the general quality of life is shrinking away.
Ironically, we had a pretty ambitious program to aid Afghanistan via terraforming in the 1970's. Orchards, fields, the whole works. Problem is, when the Soviets invaded, where can you hide?
At any rate, if we stay, we can probably forge an alliance with a government once a solid one takes hold. If we leave now, or in the near future, our puppet government will be under emminent threat of collapse, and all the work we did there (love it or hate it) was a waste of time, lives and money. Ironically, the money should be the least important of the three.
Should we print the money or borrow the money to stay in Iraq? This seems to me to be the question we have to ask for everything the US government does until it has a balanced budget. I for one don't see the balance of staying in Iraq outwaying either printing or borrowing money. Which would you choose?
Honestly, we seized territory from a soverign nation. This doctrine of "soft" warfare is pure idiocy.
We should have either:
a. Not involved ourselves in Iraq.
b. Taken their resources as our own to pay for the affair.
I know it sounds barbaric, but it's the process of warfare established by oh... a hundred thousand years or so of 'human civilization', if you'll pardon the oxymoron. I see the process as the extended hand of Darwinism. Socieities, once established, function like organisms.
Instead, we're playing by arbitrary, ad-hoc rules set fourth by a defunct organization (the UN via Geneva Convention) and pretending we're not playing conquerer by having Haliburton soak up all the profits.
I don't want to give the impression that I support the idea of sustaining this war - I don't.
So to your question - I think we're in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" type of pickle in which no "good" answer exists. I don't really support either option, and all I can really hope for is that future leaders learn from this third mistake of a war.
But I don't think they'll really have the chance.
Ultimately, I think we'll do like the Soviets did and pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq without any significant headway made.
Ironically - the "war economy" is what staved off their collapse, and we'll probably have a similar fate.
However, it should be noted that many of the Balkan nations and Islamic territories in the former USSR saw a dramatic spike in jihadi violence; with the most noteworthy being Shamil Basayev's forces in Chechnya. A structurally weakened USA would almost definately embolden radical, galvanized elements in our current War on Terror.
Thank God for geographic seperation.
"Unfortunately, "don't go into Iraq" would have been a better policy."
Couldn't agree more.
I used to think that we went to Afghanistan and Iraq because of 9/11, now I'm thinking it's because our govt believes Peak Oil is true and they want a presence where much of it is, same reason we're mucking around in Georgia. If this is true you won't see BHO removing the troops from Iraq anytime soon, or at least until the dollar crashes and we will have to bring them home.
Sorry, it wasn't a very fair question--I knew you wouldn't like either option. I agree with you in that there is no good solution if we want to maintain our empire in the Middle East. However, if we really leave that region and stop propping up the repressive regimes we’ve backed or created over the last 40 years (by supporting extremist over modernists, and deposing elected governments) and especially remove our troops from Saudi Arabia and end military aid to many of the countries there, then maybe the terrorists there just might not care about the US anymore—the rhetoric from that part of the world seems to indicate this. I don't think it is our job to bring our version of democracy to the rest of the world and it is not a job we seem to be able to do anyway.
No worries! Hard questions are the ones that have to be asked most.
The net result is that we're going to have to have a global, socio-economic collapse in the form of a Malthusian Catastrophe before we can;
a. Bring the population back under control.
b. Start fresh with sustainable agricultural practices
c. Quash old conflicts; including things like this: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/webreturn/?url=http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.40:
d. Restore values based on common sense and community.
Nothing short of a collapse can "reshuffle" the deck, so to speak. Everyone's played their hand and we're at a dead standstill. Natural process. In short, everyone is going to have to learn to get along because they don't have a choice, not because of political favoritism or under-handed economic deals.
The Middle East, and our involvement there is ultimately inconsequential.
Cutting our losses is probably the best bet.
Well, it does look like that is the way we are headed. I try to be positive about the future, while accepting that the dismal science (the name for economics during the period of Malthus) will probably prove correct. I hope that this website will do something to help the transition cause less suffering than it seems like it is set to do. Maybe some of the ideas here will make it through and a fair and sustainable society will have a better chance to form because of it. Thank you for your contributions to the discussions in this community. 2009 might be a wild ride, it is good to know there are some people that do their own thinking out there.
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