"Yeah, but $40 million worth of celebration (Bush inauguration) is obscene. Millions are suffering in Asia, and the troops in Iraq lack the necessary armor to keep them safe. Our 'wartime' president should step forward and prove that he is genuinely concerned over the troops and recent world events."
I heard on the radio today that Clinton spent $120 million on his presidential library and attendant celebrations. Were these same people angry because that money was not diverted to "higher purposes"? I doubt it. They shouldn't have been angry then and they shouldn't be angry now. The celebration of democracy is a worthy reason for a ball. More to the point, it was private donations. If you believe in liberty, shouldn't you believe that people can spend their money any legal way they choose without being made to feel guilty about it?
Okay, I have to confess that there is a big part of me that cringes when I see people spending money on ostentatious homes or events. But the higher principle here is personal freedom and the incentives that make a free market work. I have to except extravagance as the price of a capitalistic society which is the best economic system we currently have.