Thursday, December 18, 2014

Second Inaugurals -- Humbug!

There's no good reason for taxpayers to foot the bill for any second inaugural.

Second Inaugurals -- Humbug!

President Barack Obama greets supporters and donors at an inaugural reception for the 57th Presidential Inauguration at The National Building Museum in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama greets supporters and donors at an inaugural reception for the 57th Presidential Inauguration at The National Building Museum in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: Know what annoys me?

BE: Practically everything?

JB: True, but Monday's second inaugural of President Obama or, for that matter, the second inaugural of any president is really galling.

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BE: Because you don't like to see anyone celebrating our political system or, for that matter, having fun?

JB: Because like so much of what happens in Washington it's done for people in Washington, to the exclusion of almost everybody who actually PAYS for Washington.

BE: It's a visual declaration of our country's democracy, which covers all of our people.

JB: It's a gaudy display of the fact our tax dollars are used like play money in our nation's capital.

BE: Can you be specific? Isn't most of the cost footed by private donations?

JB: Sure, by people and corporations buying access. In other words, just like the political process. But there's also untold millions of tax dollars needlessly spent.

BE: Untold?

JB: Exactly. Various reports say we don't know how much of our money is spent because the bulk is for "security." But there's $2 million for the U.S. Capitol Police, $1.2 million from the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies for the event and the private luncheon, and the Associated Press reports Congress allocated $4.2 million to "spruce up" the grounds of the Capitol and build the inaugural platform, bleachers and barricades.

BE: Ya gotta have barricades.

JB: ABC News reports we don't know security costs but says it's in the tens of millions, shared by the Secret Service, DC police and others.

BE: Ya gotta have security.

JB: Point is you don't gotta have a second inaugural. Swear in any second-term prez at the White House, as was done Sunday, and be done with it. There's no reason to give rich people and corporate America another excuse to party while millions of taxpayers go to work to foot the bill.

BE: Aren't you forgetting something?

JB: Oh, right. Grrrrrr!

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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