how much inauguration costs

CNN reports, “Inauguration price tag: $150 million: It is going be some party. When Barack Obama comes to Washington to be sworn into office, the entire nation will be watching – and paying for – the celebration.”
Depends what you mean by costs. {} MSNBC Live’s host Tamron Hall stated that “the inauguration festivities” for President-elect Barack Obama are “estimated to reach as high as $150 million,” but that includes certain costs incurred by … security and transportation costs. Security and transportation costs (allegedly?) are not usually included in event costs. 2009 inaugural event cost is estimated between $45M [based on budget of the Presidential Inauguration Committee] to $49M [cost to federal government] and most of these costs are paid for by private donations. List of donors posted at; the list is even sortable. (aside: I don’t make that kind of money to be making $50,000 donations.)

According to the Congressional Research Service at The Library of Congress, Past Inaugural Festivities Costs:

  • 2005, George W. Bush, est. $40 million
  • 2001, George W. Bush, est. $30 million
  • 1997, Bill Clinton, est. $29 million
  • 1993, Bill Clinton, est. between $25 million and $30 million
  • 1989, George H.W. Bush, est. $30 million
  • 1985, Ronald Reagan, est. $20 million
  • 1981, Ronald Reagan, est. $16.3 million
  • 1977, Jimmy Carter, est. $3.5 million
  • 1973, Richard Nixon, est. $4 million

{Media Research Center‘s} AP Slammed Bush’s ‘Extravagant’ Inaugural in ’05, But Now It’s Spend, Baby, Spend and via Did NewsBusters Help AP Notice Inauguration Spending Hypocrisy?: “the Associated Press … questioned the rationale behind President Barack Obama spending huge sums of money on his inauguration while the economy is in the middle of the worst recession in decades, but also noted how critical some were four years ago of how much President Bush was spending on his second inauguration.” cf. Political Fact-Check Sites Proliferate, But Can They Break Through the Muck?

Maybe Matt Harding can draw up a pie chart for us, and break down what it all costs:


[update] watch the ceremony and concert from Sun 1/18 at

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9 Responses

  1. Angie Brandt says:

    If this is the direction of “change” then I'll take “business as usual”. I can't believe that Obama and his advisors are stupid enough to think that out spending all prior inaugurations to the tune of $110 Million can be seen as a positive “change”. Our government expects we the tax payers to bail out private industry….I expect my Government to bail out itself and be socially responsible with the money it takes from us the taxpayers. Clean out your own house before you come knocking on my door for another red cent!!!

  2. Bob V says:

    I can't help but laugh…..”Change We can Believe In”…….tell ya what folks, the only “change” you'll see for the next 4 years is what's left in your pocket after the Democratic Legislative and Executive branches get done raking you over the coals. Good luck USA! 😉

  3. Gail Stino says:

    This is ridiculous to spend this amount of money when our country is in a deep recession. One Hundred Fifty Million on a Inauguration. I have hardly heard a word about except after the fact. Hear again the American people have to foot 50 Million of this money on top of 350 Billion. Where is this money coming from? Barack Obama has gotten a free pass on everything. He said he did not think the American People would mind. Well, I am hear to say I mind and If AOL polls count so do 80% of the American public.

  4. Jeff says:

    first off read the article people. Most of the money is paid for by private donors. The cost of security and such isn't supposed to be included in the total. Which means Obama's inauguration actually only cost about 45 million. Which is only 5 million more than bush's. Also it was the biggest inauguration ever! You don't believe that had something to do with the rise in prices.

    and anyways, your not the one paying for it.

    Some people love to find anger and hatred when there is no reason for it.


    We all need to stand by each other throughout these times, not separate. Let's try to act like were from the same country and support our leader, because if we don't things will only get worse.

  5. djchuang says:

    @Jeff, thanks for your comments. I am politically ambivalent, what some may call non-partisan.

    What disappointments me about the political rhetorics from both sides is that the people with winning party will tell others to be unified and support the President, while the losing party keeps up the griping and disdain until “their turn” comes back around. Wasn't the same thing said at the 2005 Bush's second inauguration, that we need to stand by each other through these times and we need to support our leader. (?) Forgive me if my memory doesn't serve me right, but it seems to be that way.

  6. Paid Survet says:

    there goes the budget