For the sake of argument, let's agree that when we use the word "inauguration" in this particular post, we are talking about the multiday, ball-bestrewn, soiree-soaked, tuxedo-dappled extravaganza that costs tens of millions of dollars and often leaves many Americans out in the cold — figuratively and literally.
We are not referring to the inaugural parade and solemn swearing-in ceremony planned for Jan. 21, 2013. The 57th inauguration of the U.S. president is designed to be an elegant, orderly and bloodless transfer — or, in this case, retention — of power. We get that.
We are talking about the outrageous reported costs of recent inauguration celebrations. Sure, some of the bills are footed by private donations. According to the Annenberg Public Policy Center, the second inauguration of President George W. Bush cost about $157 million — with some $40 million coming from loyal supporters. But taxpayers were still dunned $115 million or so by local and federal agencies for security, cleanup and other expenses. And Barack Obama's first inauguration cost roughly the same.
Assuming that Obama's second victory lap costs about the same this time around, we are wondering if, in the face of:
The imminent danger of the nation tumbling over the "fiscal cliff," a metaphoric falling-off point formed by a mountain of tax increases and a $600 billion drop-off through federal budget cuts;
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