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  1. #1
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    Unemployment is on the rise. The stock market is in the tank. And President-elect Obama's inauguration will be the most expensive celebration ever.

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Unemployment is on the rise. The stock market is in the tank. Is this any time for a party?
    For the sake of the masses expected for President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration, let's hope so. While Obama must be sensitive to the nation's time of war and recession, there still is reason to expect a rollicking time.
    "We're mindful of the fact that people in this country are hurting, that they're going through hard times," said Linda Douglass, spokeswoman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee. "On the other hand, we see this not just as a celebration of an election, but as a time for people to come together and celebrate their common values and shared aspirations and goals."
    The committee has disclosed few details of the celebration, but it surely won't come cheap. President George W. Bush raised $42 million to help finance his second inauguration. Millions more were spent by the government on security.
    Though costly, an inauguration helps set the tone for a presidency, said Gil Troy, a visiting scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center who has written extensively on presidents and first ladies.
    The president should not be seen noshing on caviar, but neither should he dispense with glamour entirely, Troy said. Americans want their leader to be a man of the people and a celebrity superstar, both.
    "Americans are people who love to indulge, and deep in our hearts want our leaders to be like the king and queen of England - but not too much," he said.
    President Ronald Reagan fit the bill best when he set a new standard of opulence for his 1981 inauguration, Troy said. Nancy Reagan wore a $10,000 gown to the three-hour gala with Frank Sinatra.
    "Reagan had the ability - and maybe the Obamas will - to somehow make spending look patriotic," Troy said.
    As a Democrat, it may be easier for Obama to avoid accusations of overspending; if anything, his party has a reputation for dowdiness.
    And while a more down-to-earth vibe may seem a wise choice in these troubled times, that can pose its own problems. President Andrew Jackson rode to Washington as the champion of the common man, and opened the White House to his supporters for his inauguration. They thanked him by trashing the place.
    For the most part, inaugurations have grown more elaborate over the years. Elegant balls were added in 1809, and parades in 1873, historian Paul F. Boller Jr. wrote in White House History, the journal of the White House Historical Association.
    Franklin Delano Roosevelt's final swearing in was subdued during World War II, but the tone of the party has for the most part been little affected by global events. In fact, there were no official inaugural balls in the roaring '20s, but there was a ball in 1933 during the height of the Great Depression, said Jim Bendat, author of "Democracy's Big Day: The Inauguration of our President 1789-2009."
    "I guess the feeling there was 'Happy days are here again, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, so let's have a party,'" he said. Bush's second inauguration was more costly than his first, though the country was enduring two wars.
    In years such as this, when a new president is elected from a different party, inaugurations tend to be especially elaborate, Bendat said.
    Reagan's tone was a deliberate shift from President Jimmy Carter's cardigan sweaters and lowered thermostats. For his inaugural parade, Carter chose not to ride in the presidential limousine, but to walk with Rosalynn and their daughter, Amy.
    Reagan instead got back in the limo and harkened back to another glitzy inauguration, that of John F. Kennedy in 1961, who also featured Sinatra and other Hollywood stars.
    "What subsequent presidents learned from that was just the power of celebrity," Troy said. "If you did it right you could really launch yourself and your administration into the stratosphere."
    Obama's Presidential Inaugural Committee aims to "make it the most open and accessible inauguration in history," Douglass said. Just how lavish it will be is hard to say.
    Unlike in previous years, the inaugural committee said it would not accept contributions from corporations, lobbyists or foreign citizens, and would cap individual contributions at $50,000. Some of the glitziest events - like the MTV ball - may be privately funded.
    If Obama strikes the right balance, it might just earn him political capital for his first days in office.
    "It's a way of making deposits into the public bank account of goodwill by giving everybody an opportunity to celebrate," Troy said.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna View Post
    Can't wait!

    Do you think this is a good idea?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terminator View Post
    Do you think this is a good idea?
    Sure, why not? The article doesn't actually say that it will be the most expensive ever, just that it will be the most open and accessible ever. But even if it were unusually expensive, I don't think it's a big deal. It only happens once every 4 years and anything beyond the standard fare will be funded by private donations from Obamaniacs rather than by taxpayers. Maybe it will help stimulate the economy. Think of all the overtime pay LEOs will get from the extra security details!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna View Post
    Sure, why not? The article doesn't actually say that it will be the most expensive ever, just that it will be the most open and accessible ever. But even if it were unusually expensive, I don't think it's a big deal. It only happens once every 4 (or hopefully 8) years and anything beyond the standard fare will be funded by private donations from Obamaniacs rather than by taxpayers. Maybe it will help stimulate the economy. Think of all the overtime pay LEOs will get from the extra security details!
    It is being estimated by numerous news outlets that this will be the most expensive inauguration party ever. How many millions will this cost....70, 80, 90, 100 million? And this won't be funded strictly by Obama Maniacs. Re-read the article. The inaugural committee said it would not accept contributions from corporations, lobbyists or foreign citizens, and would cap individual contributions at $50,000. With Obama's apparent concern over the poor economy, do you think this is the best use of taxpayer's money, or could they stand to tone it down a little and put that money towards something else?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terminator View Post
    It is being estimated by numerous news outlets that this will be the most expensive inauguration party ever. How many millions will this cost....70, 80, 90, 100 million? And this won't be funded strictly by Obama Maniacs. Re-read the article. The inaugural committee said it would not accept contributions from corporations, lobbyists or foreign citizens, and would cap individual contributions at $50,000. With Obama's apparent concern over the poor economy, do you think this is the best use of taxpayer's money, or could they stand to tone it down a little and put that money towards something else?
    Taxpayers' money is only used for the standard security and ceremony that every President gets. Most of the money for the other stuff will come from private donations. Voluntary contributions from wealthy individuals, rather than taxpayer money, will replace the contributions from corporations, lobbyists or foreign citizens that have usually funded inaugrations.

    According to this story

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/politic...ama-tone_N.htm

    "Private fundraising pays for most activities, such as the inaugural balls. Taxpayers foot the bill for security and the actual ceremony."

    and according to this story, "As of Nov. 15, Obama's transition fundraising committee had already raised $1.1 million from 1,776 donors, according to a voluntary disclosure recently posted on its Web site."

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/p...,6244688.story

    More on where the money will come from here:

    http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/...008-11-25.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna View Post
    Taxpayers' money is not used for anything extra beyond the standard that every President gets. Most of the money for the celebration will come from private donations.

    "Private fundraising pays for most activities, such as the inaugural balls. Taxpayers foot the bill for security and the actual ceremony."
    What is a majority of 70, 80, 90, 100 million? That's big money. It could potentially be $40 million + at taxpayer's expense. I am asking you if this money could be spent better if these tough economic times? That money could be used to fund healthcare, help the homeless, fund research for Cancer, bail out more big corporations...you know, all the things the libs want to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terminator View Post
    What is a majority of 70, 80, 90, 100 million? That's big money. It could potentially be $40 million + at taxpayer's expense. I am asking you if this money could be spent better if these tough economic times?
    In the past Republican presidents have been known for having the more expensive and lavish celebrations, while Democratic presidents had the less expensive ones to show that they represent the poor. I think it would be extra cool if Obama did something similar to what Carter did, breaking with inauguration tradition--Carter wanted to show that he represented poor people so he "braved the wind and freezing temperatures to walk the 1½ miles from the swearing-in ceremony on the Capitol steps down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House" and served pretzels and peanuts instead of fancy food at the inaugural ball.
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/politic...ama-tone_N.htm
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpag...52C0A96F948260

    But if Obama wants to have the standard celebration or even a somewhat more expensive one, I don't think it would be a big deal either. The cost of the inauguration, especially the taxpayer funded part, is not really big enough to be more than a drop in the bucket of any governmental spending plans. And the private donations and the anticipated huge crowd of Obamaniacs paying their own way to participate in the celebrations will offset some of that with the additional sales taxes they'll pay on hotels, food, and transportation, as well as on the privately funded inaugural balls and other "extra" stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna
    In the past Republican presidents have been known for having the more expensive and lavish celebration, while Democratic presidents had the less expensive ones to show that they represent the poor
    Did you get that from the Daily KOS, the Huffington Post, or the New York Times? This issue has nothing to do with the republican Presidents of past, so that is irrelevant. We're in a bad economic depression, as we haven't been in the past with these other alleged fancy republican parties. If you are saying this is how democrats normally do things, why is Obama going all out here, in these bad economic times? Does he not care about the poor, or maybe he just cares less about the poor than other democrats? Or maybe he's entitled to a big celebration at the taxpayers expense because he's the first bi-racial President? What about the many millions that did not vote for Obama. Do they want elected officials blowing there money any more than they already have lately with the bail outs, in record making praise of Obama.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna
    I think it would be extra cool if Obama did something similar to what Carter did, breaking with inauguration tradition--Carter wanted to show that he represented poor people so he "braved the wind and freezing temperatures to walk the 1½ miles from the swearing-in ceremony on the Capitol steps down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House" and served pretzels and peanuts instead of fancy food at the inaugural ball.
    Why can't he do that? He's the candidate of change, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna
    But if Obama wants to have the standard celebration or even a somewhat more expensive one, I don't think it would be a big deal either. The cost of the inauguration, especially the taxpayer funded part, is not really big enough to be more than a drop in the bucket of any governmental spending plans.
    How is that okay with you if say you're say compassionate about issues such as the economy, poor people, and the homeless? That $40 million may be a drop in the bucket for YOU, but it's not for the people it could feed, give healthcare to...etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna
    And the private donations...
    Again, they are setting a private donation cap of $50,000.

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    So did you complain when Bushes I and II and Reagan spent a lot more than their predecessors on their inaugurations? And would you still advocate Carter-style frugality if McCain were the one being inaugurated?

    I agree that frugality would be a better idea, and if it were up to me I'd favor Carter-style frugality since it would send a strongly progressive message. But Obama leans much further to the right than I do on economic issues--candidates as far left as I am on those issues don't stand a chance in national elections. We can't expect any President to do exactly what we'd do in their shoes, unless we were President. In any case I think there are much bigger issues to worry about than one day's celebrations.

    According to a historian:

    http://askgleaves.blogspot.com/2005/...gurations.html

    "Gleaves answers: Many visitors to http://www.allpresidents.org/ have been asking this question or some variation of it. There are two primary costs of inaugurations. One is the cost of the swearing-in ceremony, which is paid for by taxpayers; the funds are appropriated by Congress; in 2001, George W. Bush's swearing-in ceremony cost $1 million. Second is the cost of the balls, the candlelight dinners, the parties, the concerts -- all the festivities that surround the swearing-in ceremony, which are paid for by private donations.

    If there is criticism of how much a modern inaugural costs, it is usually directed at this latter cost, the parties and festivities, even though the burden is not borne by taxpayers. Going backward in time, from the most recent to the most distant inaugurals, here are the private-sector costs of the festivities surrounding some inaugurations:

    George W. Bush's 2nd inaugural will cost in the neighborhood of $40 million. That's what the Presidential Inaugural Committee is trying to raise through private donations and ticket sales to the nine balls and three candlelight dinners.

    George W. Bush's 1st inaugural in 2001 also cost nearly $40 million.

    Bill Clinton's 2nd inaugural in 1997 was comparatively lean by the inaugural standards of the times, $23.6 million.

    Bill Clinton's 1st inaugural in 1993 cost approximately $33 million.

    George H. W. Bush's inaugural in 1989 cost approximately $30 million.

    Ronald Reagan's 2nd inaugural in 1985 cost in the neighborhood of the 1981 inaugural, around $20 million.

    Ronald Reagan's 1st inaugural in 1981 cost $19.4 million, significantly more than his predecessors. One reason is that inflation had been sky-high between Carter's and Reagan's inaugurations. A second reason is that several balls were added to the festivities. A third is that the swearing-in ceremony was moved to the west front of the Capitol. Because of topography, that aspect of the building is much more dramatic than the east front; it was also symbolic of Ronald Reagan's western roots.

    Jimmy Carter's inaugural in 1977 cost $3.5 million. Elected in the wake of the Watergate scandal, he deliberately downplayed anything that appeared to aggrandize the presidency.

    Richard Nixon's 2nd inaugural in 1973 cost $4 million. Bob Hope, a Nixon supporter, joked that the three-day extravaganza commemorated "the time when Richard I becomes Richard II."

    Lyndon Johnson's inaugural in 1965 cost $1.5 million.

    Woodrow Wilson's inaugural was relatively lean since on his orders there would be no ball. He disliked dances. Congress appropriated $30,000 for the event.

    James Madison's inaugural ceremony in 1809 cost more than previous inaugurals in part because it was the first to include a ball. Dolley Madison, the federalist era's social maven, had also served as hostess for President Jefferson."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna
    So did you complain when Bushes I and II and Reagan had their extra-fancy inaugurations?
    I do not advocate spending big money on a party because you won the presidency, especially in these struggling economic times. It just doesn't make sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna
    And would you still advocate Carter-style frugality if McCain were the one being inaugurated?
    Your implications are weak, because I'm an independent. Yes, I would still advocate it.[QUOTE]

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna
    But Obama leans much further to the right than I do on economic issues
    Explain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna
    We can't expect any President to do exactly what we'd do in their shoes, unless we were President.
    Of course not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna
    In any case I think there are much bigger issues to worry about than one day's celebrations.
    Yeah, after all what's $40 million in what some are calling a depression, right? You're either missing the boat, or making excuses for your candidate.

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    By the way, nice post edit. Nothing like posting and then adding a shitload of stuff after I have already replied to your post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terminator View Post
    Explain.
    I'm more of a socialist than Obama, which means I favor more government spending for the poor than he does, especially with regards to healthcare and education. So yes if I were President I would do a Carter-style inauguration to send a strongly socialist message. But I'm not President and am too far left to have a shot at the job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna View Post
    But I'm not President and am too far left to have a shot at the job.

    Are you saying that not enough people agree with your political points of view?

    Is that a strong indication that you're politically clueless and/or a looney liberal?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terminator View Post
    Are you saying that not enough people agree with your political points of view?

    Is that a strong indication that you're politically clueless and/or a looney liberal?
    I'm not a looney liberal, I'm a looney social democrat!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna View Post
    Taxpayers' money is only used for the standard security and ceremony that every President gets.
    There is nothing standard or inexpensive about Presidential security, and it will cost double for this guy.
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