Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama's inauguration is most expensive ever at $160 million

Where's the outrage? Remember how people were angry at the cost of Bush's inaugurations? MSM said he should downplay his inaugurations because we were in a time of war and economic crisis. We're still in a time of war and economic crisis. Yet, MSM is celebrating the cost of Obama's inaugurations, saying it will revitalize the economy and take people's minds off the hard times. Unbelievable.

Obama's inauguration is most expensive ever at $160 million
Updated Wednesday, January 14th 2009, 2:42 AM

It will take Barack Obama less than a minute to recite the oath of office -- and when he’s done dancing at the inaugural balls Jan. 20, the price tag for his swearing-in festivities could approach $160 million.

Obama’s inaugural committee is in the midst of raising roughly $45 million in private funds, exceeding the $42.3 million President Bush spent in 2005. In 1993, Clinton spent $33 million when Democrats returned to the White House for the first time in 12 years.

As in previous years, the costs borne by the taxpayers, for security and emergency medical services, far surpasses the privately funded events.

The federal government has budgeted $49 million for this year’s inauguration, more than triple what taxpayers spent at Bush’s first inauguration in 2001, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

Earlier this year, the District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland and the Washington transit authority sent a request to federal lawmakers for more than $75 million to cover a variety of inaugural costs ranging from security to transportation. Carole Florman, spokeswoman for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, which oversees the events at the Capitol, said this year’s budget of $1.24 million -- $10,000 less than 2005 -- is "not a lot of money in the scheme of planning an event for 240,000 people."

"We're always very budget conscious," she said. "But we're sending a message to the entire world about our peaceful transition of power, and you don't want it to look like a schlock affair. It needs to be appropriate to the magnitude of events that it is."Linda Douglass, a spokeswoman for the Obama’s inaugural committee, said the committee’s expenses will be greater than previous years because of Obama’s commitment to make the event as open and accessible as possible to the public.

Douglass ticked off a slew of expenses, most notably the decision to open up the entire length of the National Mall and provide video and audio access to the swearing-in ceremony on JumboTrons. The committee is also sponsoring a children’s concert and is allocating $700,000 to the Smithsonian Institution for extended museum hours.

At least 2 million people are expected at the swearing-in and parade next Tuesday. Officials estimate 10,000 charters buses will arrive in Washington with roughly 500,000 riders alone.

While the inauguration comes with a host of costs, officials predict the economic impact on the local economy will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. "This is our Super Bowl multiplied significantly," Bill Hanbury, president of Destination DC, the organization that promotes and markets the capital city. "It is a chance for us to really take advantage of a downtime in the economy for us."

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