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Inauguration 2013: Necessary Tradition or Costly Excess?

As inaugural festivities continue in Washington, D.C., we want to get Tampa Bay’s take on the three-day production and its value to the country as a whole.

As President Barack Obama gave his second inaugural address today, Jan. 21, thousands of Americans turned out to watch the festivities in Washington, D.C. Even more tuned in to watch the pageantry live on television or the Internet.

A tradition that dates back to George Washington’s first swearing-in on April 30, 1789, the Presidential Inauguration has become bigger, better and much, much more costly through the years.

The first few inaugurations were rather short affairs that didn’t include gala balls. Washington, in fact, only spoke 135 words in his second inaugural address, according to the U.S. Senate’s website. Balls weren’t added to the mix until James Madison’s 1809 swearing-in. Those festivities only cost attendees $4 each for tickets.

Flash forward to 2013 and the exact costs of the Inauguration are hard to track.

ABC reports the 2009 festivities cost about $170 million. That news agency openly admits that tracking this year’s expenses is much harder. In a story published today, the agency said a total of $13.637 million had been appropriated so far, “but it will no doubt be a much larger price tag when everything is accounted for.”

CBS reports that taxpayers are on the hook for the swearing-in costs, security and the parade. Private donors were sought out to cover the costs of the balls.

Here’s what we want to know from you, Tampa Bay: Do you think the costs are justified because the inauguration is a time-honored American tradition? Or, do you think the festivities should be scaled back in light of America’s $16 trillion federal debt? Did you watch the festivities? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Michael D. January 28, 2013 at 10:30 PM
Patriot, I agree we are a society are becoming less generous. I don't think that the assualt on Christianity is as much through the government, as much as business sector. Christmas doesn't sell as much as it used to, partly because the expanded diversity of other religions in our nation. Partly because we had an administration that pushed Christian values as a reason for policy. As of 2010 76.8% of the American Population calmed to be Christian. So it as a whole isn't being stompped out. Now we are seeing an increase in taxation, because we as a country need it. We restoring taxes to the pre 2002 levels, which is good for the country as a whole. Reagan was smart to increase taxes, and Bush/Clinton were smart to keep them in. Bush shouldn't have taken them out, and Obama should have put them back in (Congress gets credit for getting them back in). The Freedom of Religion is a core believe of this country, but not Freedom from Religion. Most of our founding fathers were not Christians (John Adams was). Our founding documents are states of a society, not based on religion. Only mention of Lord is in the proper statement of the date. But we did believe in protecting our brother as you stated. It was solidarity as a nation, which we haven't had in at least 15 years. FYI... Hilter bad example of removing the Bible, he used the Bible to show the evility of the Jews. They did burn books on Liberalism, American, Jewish Authors, and more.
JR January 29, 2013 at 01:51 AM
Why so angry bubba Conkle? I was just correcting you as you like to do to everyone on a regular basis. Why do you instanly go on the attack and label people you don't know as non caring. Like to dish it out but can't take it huh. I give not only financially but also donate my time to various youth organizations on weekly basis not that I have to justify myself to you.
michael mirra January 29, 2013 at 02:06 AM
What happened to the inauguration discussion? This is like the Gun threads. No one talks about the thread topic. There's another thread about a laundromat owner's anti Dem. window sign on Dunedin patch, I think that is the same. If they just made an ongoing thread called > Right vs. Left Shoot out, Ream em' a new one!!! it would cover the territory
David Conkle January 29, 2013 at 01:10 PM
Not angry in the least, JR. I just get weary of those who denegrate the poor and most neediest among us. My wife and I too donate as much as we can to others through financial donations and our time. A society is judged by how they treat the least of their citizens. How do you think we are doing as a society in regards to helping out the poorest among us? I wasn't attacking you or labeling you as uncaring, I merely asked a question as to what you are doing to help others. If like Patriot you are following the Republican playbook of denegrating and stereotyping the poor, then shame on all of you!
Patriot January 29, 2013 at 05:38 PM
When they do it we call it Genocide, When we do it we call it manifest destiny. When they do it we call it fascism, When we do it we call it social Democracy. When they do it we call it communism, When we do it we call it social security. When they do it we call it terrorism, When we do it we call it collateral damage. When they do it we call it death camps, When we do it we call it "re-education camps". When they do it we call it aggression, When we do it we call it "defense". When they do it we call it weapons proliferation, When we do it we call it "foreign aid". When they do it we call it slavery, When we do it we call it banking. When they do it we call it currency manipulation, When we do it we call it "quantitative easing". When they do it we call it corporatism/corporate fascism/socialism, but when we do it we call it "capitalism", "bailouts", "too big to fail". I could go on.

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