Monday, January 19, 2009

BBC Assails the Most Expensive Inauguration Ever

BBC's Kevin Anderson is taking the President-elect to task for the most expensive presidential inauguration ever. He implies the "lavish dinners, parties and fireworks", parade and inaugural balls are a waste of tax payer dollars. And though the cost for the historic event is being somewhat deferred by the President's big campaign donors, critics believe this may provide them with undo influence over his policies.

He writes:

Some have criticised the expense, questioning the propriety of a flashy celebration as US troops are dying in Iraq.

The overt criticism of an inauguration is unusual, but a Washington Post poll found that a majority of Americans would prefer a smaller, more subdued event.

Those who contribute $250,000 received tickets to a number of events over the celebration, including the swearing-in ceremony, the inaugural parade, and an exclusive luncheon with [the] President.

Political reform advocates say the [big donors] stand to benefit from [the Prisdent's] proposed energy policy.

But it's not just balls and private dinners: For the inaugural attendee with money to burn, Washington hotels are offering pampering packages.

"Precedent suggests that inaugural festivities should be muted - if not cancelled - in wartime," New York Democrat Representative Anthony Weiner[.]

He noted the money could be used to buy 690 Humvees and pay for a $290 bonus for each soldier serving in Iraq.

[A] Washington Post-ABC News poll found that two-thirds of Americans think inaugural festivities should be scaled back. That includes half of those who voted for [the] President.

[The President] defended the pomp and parties, saying in an interview with US network CBS: "You can be equally concerned about our troops in Iraq... while celebrating democracy."

Of course, the truth is Kevin Anderson didn't take President-Elect Obama to task for his lavish inauguration, the above BBC article was actually written in 2004 about President Bush's $40m event. In case you are wondering, Obama's inauguration is slated to cost more than $170m, over four times what President Bush spent just four years ago.

The expense comes not only while we are still fighting two wars in the Middle East, but during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Yet, mainstream media outlets are silencing any criticism of the extravagant celebration. CBS is even planning to preempt programming all day long to cover the festivities.

"The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers... [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper." - Thomas Jefferson

1 comment:

chris said...

Great post, I almost did not get it. I kept scratching my head wondering why the were attacking Obama.