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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.

American Patriot January 27, 2013 at 04:04 AM
Oh that's total BS, LBelle and Patriot!!!! And as to feeding and caring for the poor, the poor of America shouldn't need to depend upon donations; they should depend upon their fellow Americans in this greatly blessed nation to help them. We are a better nation than India or China or any others who leave the most destitute to fend for themselves. Justice matters. Equity matters. Sharing our burdens and our blessings matters. America is a great and powerful nation that should never abandon the least of our brethren. "We the People" is not just a logan; it is an inherent part of our great heritage.
michael mirra January 27, 2013 at 10:49 AM
None of the things Lib Bell mentioned as racist is racist. I consider it racist when they hold up plackards of Obama dressed like a witch doctor w/a bone through his nose, or when they use racial slurs that start with N. Right Wingnuts are so crazy & racist that they really don't see their own racism. They just incorporate it into their view of the world. It doesn't matter anyway because they are dieing away as America changes. They blame Obama for the change. Obama is not pushing the change. The change has occured in America & the election of Obama is the normal course of where America is. If Barack wasn't elected, it would be the same person with a different name & a different face, the person chosen is a reflection of where America is.
michael mirra January 27, 2013 at 10:53 AM
Patriot says Obama is bigoted. I guess when he has Tea Party people carry pictures of him with a bone in his nose, that's his way of telling White people that he thinks he's better because he's a Kenyan?
michael mirra January 27, 2013 at 10:59 AM
Saying Obama is dividing is like the Republicans saying that Obama is out to destroy the Republican Party when anyone with 1/2 a brain can see that it is, & always has been, the Republican party that is out to destroy Obama. Republicans are destroying themselves. They don't need anyone else, but themselves, to dig their own political graves. Every time they open their mouthes, they put another nail in the coffin of Conservativism.
Patriot January 28, 2013 at 05:30 AM
American Patriot: I am all for helping the needy! But I think the time is coming when the needy will have to help themselves! I see no reason for an able body American to be on public assistance for more 4 years, yet, here in St.Pete, I know of 7 families that have been collecting tax dollars for more then 20 years! Why? Why should the 80% work for the lazy there whole life?
Patriot January 28, 2013 at 05:33 AM
Michael Mirra, I think you are wrong about Rand! I think a if a strong conservative does not get in the White House in the next election. There will be a revolution in America, and it will be a blood bath.
David Conkle January 28, 2013 at 02:02 PM
Patriot, are you calling for another civil war here or what? You do realize you're outnumbered because over half the voters in this country voted for President Obama and Republicans lost the popular vote in the congressional election contests. Your party can gerrymander all the state congressional districts it wants, but the Republican voters are still a shrinking minority in our country. You might want to check out the demographics and rethink your position of calling for a "bloodbath" if a conservitive doesn't win in 2016, not good for the country and not good for you or your fellow lunetic frindge friends.
David Conkle January 28, 2013 at 02:06 PM
Patriot, under Temporary Aid to Needy Families, an individual can only collect public assistance for two year total during their lifetime. You might want to check your facts before you post your falsehoods, bubba!
Michael D. January 28, 2013 at 02:19 PM
Victor your obvious obession with Socialism combined with Obama is what makes this counter productive. You asked question I asked with data and facts, then come back with well you can't see the truth. As for data and facts, I already explained the $1T which both the Treasury Department and I blame on the last two admistrations and over course Congress. But that has been your only defense, against all the other numbers that have been against you agrument. As for this statement: "And Bezmenov told about as well, that people indoctrinated with Marxism would accept no facts, evidences, proofs." Hard to see what isn't brought to a conversation, I have asked multiple times for your facts and data and your replay as been "well you can't see it". Maybe I'm not the one who is color blind. I openly have said the system is flawed multiple times through multiple threads on this site. But you can't get off Socialism, to see any other outcome. So Have a wonderful day.
Michael D. January 28, 2013 at 02:23 PM
Patriot, Are you referring to the US Postal Service? Need to blame Congress for not re-organizing that doomed organization. Other than that, a person cannot collect Unemployeement for more than 2 years, Without gaining employment for at least a year before they reapply. You would have to be specific if you are referring to any other form of government assistance.
JR January 28, 2013 at 02:32 PM
Conkle- Florida law limits receipt of assistance to not more than 48 cumulative months of assistance with exemptions to the time limit provided for hardship.You might want to check your facts before you post your falsehoods, bubba!
Michael D. January 28, 2013 at 02:58 PM
JR, If he was reponding to this statement: "I see no reason for an able body American to be on public assistance for more 4 years, yet, here in St.Pete, I know of 7 families that have been collecting tax dollars for more then 20 years! " Wouldn't he still be at least half right, because St. Pete is in the state of Florida? I know the lifetime portion is incorrect.
Michael D. January 28, 2013 at 04:06 PM
Belle, The division has been growing since the "Contract with America" in 1998. Both parties have been doing it. Don't blame one side without blaming the other. If they divide us on issues that don't matter, then it is easier for them to do things that take more of our liberties away. Not just Obama or Bush, it has been slowly happening much longer than that. The two parties are two sides of the same coin. Why do you think they both agree to the monetary policy that has been reducing the value of the dollar since 2002?
Patriot January 28, 2013 at 07:43 PM
DAVIID C, You do remember that we are the 2nd Amendment advocates...right! lmao
Patriot January 28, 2013 at 07:54 PM
No. Mike D. I am not talking about the Postal Service. I am talking about citizens in this fine city! My business is single family rental homes. I have them in Florida & New Mexico.....unless you have a specific situation that puts you in a position to know how the middle class is being fleeced. Then like most, you have no idea how bad Welfare fraud is. I know for a fact how they exploit the system, and abuse the good will of the middle class. When the gravy train stops, and it will, we will all see how degraded society is, and how the Democrat welfare & entitlement policies has DESTROYED AMERICA!
David Conkle January 28, 2013 at 07:56 PM
I stand corrected, when first enacted it was 24months lifetime and in 2006 this was changed to 60 months lifetime federally and to 48 months in Florida. To be eligible, you have to have assests of $2000 or less and cars needed for getting to and from work cannot total more than $8500. There is also a work requirement for all adults in the household. Anyway you look at it JR, the majority of people truly need this help to support their families. Looking at the big picture, it is a very small percentage of the budget and I get a bit annoyed at those who think of these families are taking advantage of the rest of us. Yes, in the richest country in the world, we still have too many people that earn below the poverty levels. Sure there are a small percentage that game the system, however to lump everyone who receives public assistance into one group is sterotyping and bigoted. Let me ask you this JR, when was the last time you contributed to a charitable organization or helped an individual person that has it worse off than you, bubba?
Patriot January 28, 2013 at 08:00 PM
Temporary Aid? Are you out of your mind? Section 8 is recertified for the entitled sloths every year! You don't have a clue as to what you are talking about. And by the way, you did exactly what you are trained to do...calling me "bubba" lol.... I din't mind, heck, call me honkey, craker, tea-bagger....could care a less...sweetie!
David Conkle January 28, 2013 at 08:11 PM
Patriot, you're talking crazy and you scare no one with your puffery and bloviation by calling for a revolutionary bloodbath if a strong conservative is not elected in 2016.
Michael D. January 28, 2013 at 08:18 PM
Patriot, First, the Postal Service was a joke, I'm apologize for not pointing that out. As far as the Welfare system which has been in place since the late 1800's isn't Obama's fault. People milking the Welfare system isn't any administrations fault, if they have been doing it for 20 years. Seems to be the fault of both parties, and the entitlement politics you speak of is with both parties. Neither of the two parties want to fix the issues, just create more issues. Welfare is another government organization that does need restructuring (no where close to the worst or even in the top 100). Like many government organizations. Strangely enough, a great example is the Postal Service, we keep dumping more bad money into an organization that needs to be restructured. But Congress doesn't want to make the hard decisions needed to restructure and save billions of tax payer dollars. The average postal delivery person makes approximately $20,000 than you average college graduate. As far as a situation where I know how government is fleecing Americans. Federal Government Contractor with many lobbyst friends. I'm quite aware how the organization is run, not by two states but on a national scale.
Michael D. January 28, 2013 at 08:20 PM
Section 8 housing is being abused. There are a number of multi-millionare who own their own businesses who re-invest in their "company" in order to get section 8 benefits. It's not just sloths, it's people manipulating the system for their advantage.
Michael D. January 28, 2013 at 08:37 PM
Apologize, not billions, but $100s of millions
Patriot January 28, 2013 at 09:55 PM
Michael D....I would like to understand your comment.... @ 3:28. How are multimillionaires reinvesting....exactly! I know several landlords in my area, and I have never heard of a opportunity as you describe....
Michael D. January 28, 2013 at 09:59 PM
When I lived in an apartment complex on 4th Street, the section 8 complex before mine had 3 alone. The actual stats in St. Pete, i do not know. But nationally, somewhere between 2-5% of section 8 housing is going to those with "redirected" income.
Michael D. January 28, 2013 at 10:04 PM
To clarify, the apartment complex that was infront of the one I lived in had section 8 housing. 3 different people lived in that housing, own their own multi-million dollar business, and openly told us that they "re-invested" money, so the documents that showed to the complex owners and the government were accurate. It is just a loophole in the system.
Patriot January 28, 2013 at 10:10 PM
David, you have by passed the real entitlement rip off....Section 8. But I would like to respond to your other point about questioning JR's generosity to those in need...I am a member of a large church, and we help out a lot of people in need every year. I personally have contributed a small fortune over the years to help those out that need it. When our country was founded, it was on the principles of Christianity that we are all our brothers keeper, the fact that welfare and all entitlements are legislated now and forced down our throats by the Democrats and RINO's through taxation, and the continued assault on Christianity by both parties that we as a people are becoming less generous. For that, you can thank the continued vilification by the Government on the CHRISTIAN religion. What people may not remember from history, is, one of the first things a government must do to move into a socialist society, and then a communist one is.....remove the bible! Just like Hitler did! Then government becomes the religion!
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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