Although taxpayers always pick up the tab for the security and the costs of the actual inaugural ceremony in front of the Capitol, all of the parties, concerts, and events surrounding that auspicious occasion come from the generosity of the president-elect-or-incumbent’s supporters. After the 2008 campaign, that pervasive spirit of Hopenchange and the accompanying historic-ness of it all meant well-funded celebrations galore to usher in President Obama’s first term — but this year, perhaps not so much.
It doesn’t look like the Obamas have any plans to tone down the festivities, but after a grueling election season and with an economy still in tatters, the White House is wondering if they shouldn’t maybe just ditch that lofty ban on corporate donations from last time around. The WSJ reports:
President Barack Obama’s fundraising advisers have urged the White House to accept corporate donations for his January 2013 inaugural celebration rather than rely exclusively on weary donors who underwrote his $1 billion re-election effort. …
The White House wouldn’t release the cost of the ceremony or what the fundraising target is.
Four years ago Mr. Obama barred corporations from donating to his inauguration, a gesture meant to show that well-heeled interests wouldn’t have undue influence in his administration. For the 2009 events he raised more than $50 million from other donors to help cover the costs of celebrations.
But the climate is different now. The economy is still struggling, and the president’s campaign donors are drained from a long election season in which they were also asked to help fund the Democratic convention in Charlotte and congressional races.
And heck, why not? We all know that that “transparency” and “ending business as usual” thing was a total sham anyways, so why not just put a stop to the charade and be honest about what’s going on here? In an ever-metastisizing big, progressive, regulatory government in which rent-seeking keeps taking the place of free-market signals, corporations and businesses are going to be looking for ways to ingratiate themselves with the Obama administration — so I think the White House should indeed feel free to quit with the pretensions any time now. Bring on the cronyism, round two!