Thursday, January 20, 2005

Inauguration Spending

I thought this statement had been made and refuted sufficiently many times that we could stop this silly conversation. Apparently not. From a letter to the editor in today's Tribune:
"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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So why not have historic spending to match the historic occasion? Are we saying that his inauguration needs would be any less historic without the absurd spending. I guess the call for people to tighten their belts and spread the wealth does not apply in this case. Seems to me if person calls for drastic action to help the economy, that person might take pause before spending lavishly on himself, private donations notwithstanding. It's hypocrisy plain and simple.