Barack Obama is about to have a huge inauguration celebration! Next Monday won't be anywhere as massive as his last one, which attracted 1.8 million people. The first inauguration the President's team set a budget of 53 million dollars and it cost around 170 million according to ABC News.
That cost was split, like all Presidential Inauguration's, by the President's Inauguration committee and the Federal Government. This inauguration they're expecting about half the crowd, but if you thought that just because half the people are coming they were going to spend half the money, then you don't know this group very well! The Weekly World News says Obama is hoping to spend 300 million on this one!
But I think they also predicted that Chief John Roberts would be replaced as the oath giver due to his flub last time, by Bat Boy.Whatever the cost ends up being, it's a lot more than they have available. This has forced the President to abandon his own guidelines from 4 years ago, when the most anyone was allowed to donate was $50,000. They did that because they didn't want to give the appearance that people or companies could buy the President's favor. The Obama team had said President Bush set a bad tone when he allowed contributions up to $250,000 for his inauguration. Today it would seem the President's favor is now officially up for bids.
CBS News reports that President Obama's people are accepting unlimited donations! They're also soliciting donations of one million dollars that assures the donor special access to the President on his big day. They have also put together 4 different VIP packages.
Donors at the "Washington" level are offered "premium partner access" for a minimum donation of $250,000 from individuals and $1 million from corporations.The "Adams" package also promises premium partner access for $150,000 from individuals and $500,000 from corporations. It offers two tickets to the ball but not the parade bleacher seats and some other reception access. Donors are offered "special partner access" that still includes ball tickets and the Candle Light Celebration at the National Building Museum for donations of $75,000 for individuals and $250,000 for corporations at the "Jefferson" level and $10,000 and $100,000 at the "Madison" level.
Two of the companies who have donated over 1 million towards the President's Inauguration are probably hoping their "special access" buys them more favorable results than he gave them in his last term. AT&T has faced regulatory hurdles, including its decision to scuttle a merger with T-Mobile USA at a cost of $4 billion following opposition from the Obama administration. Microsoft was upset when the Obama administration opposed an immigration bill that the company supported to expand visas for its workers. When a President makes a decision that costs one company 4 billion and helps their competition, a couple of million dollars is small change to get a chance to plead your case to the man himself. Which is exactly why it shouldn't happen!I may never say these words again, but can't we all learn a lesson from Jimmy Carter? Carter spent 3.5 million on his inauguration. He realized the purpose of the day was to show the nation he was getting to work. Now he sucked at his job, but that's beside the point. He took the oath, put on his tacky sweater and went to work.
I would like this President to recognize that he is inheriting a bungled government that has been lacking leadership on fiscal policies for years. That is teetering on shutting down as another debt ceiling fight is taking place right now, and he should lead by saying this is not the time for bloated budget busting party's....or perhaps...he is on to something. If companies are willing to spend millions to spend a few minutes with him, what would they pay for a night out? How about a golf weekend with the Pres? He likes partying, playing golf and basketball, and companies like getting special access. Well hell lets send him out at a billion a day. I get that we currently go in debt over a trillion dollars per year and this will only raise around 300 billion a year, but at least he would be doing something!