Thursday, January 20, 2005

Inauguration: Lifestyles of the Rich and Heartless

The Progress Report

by Christy Harvey, Judd Legum and Jonathan Baskin with Nico Pitney and
Mipe Okunseinde


Inauguration: Lifestyles of the Rich and Heartless

Due to $17 million worth of inaugural security -- paid for by the city
of Washington, D.C. -- the Progress Report is unable to access its
office. Never fear -- it takes a lot more than that to keep us down. We put
this list together for you ahead of time. Your regularly scheduled
Progress Report returns tomorrow.

A look at this week's festivities by the numbers:

$40 million:
Cost of Bush inaugural ball festivities, not counting security costs.

$2,000: ( Amount
FDR spent on the inaugural in 1945...about $20,000 in today's dollars.

Cost of yellow roses purchased for inaugural festivities by D.C.'s Ritz

Number of Humvees outfitted with top-of-the-line armor for troops in
Iraq that could have been purchased with the amount of money blown on the

$10,000: (
Price of an inaugural package at the Fairmont Hotel, which includes a
Beluga caviar and Dom Perignon reception, a chauffeured Rolls Royce and
two actors posing as "faux" Secret Service agents, complete with black
sunglasses and cufflink walkie-talkies.

400: ( Pounds of
lobster provided for "inaugural feeding frenzy" at the exclusive
Mandarin Oriental hotel.

3,000: ( Number
of "Laura Bush Cowboy cookies" provided for "inaugural feeding frenzy"
at the Mandarin hotel.

$1: (
Amount per guest President Carter spent on snacks for guests at his
inaugural parties. To stick to a tight budget, he served pretzels, peanuts,
crackers and cheese and had cash bars.

22 million:
Number of children in regions devastated by the tsunami who could have
received vaccinations and preventive health care with the amount of
money spent on the inauguration.

1,160,000: ( Number of girls
who could be sent to school for a year in Afghanistan with the amount
of money lavished on the inauguration.

( The down payment to rent a fur coat paid by one gala attendee who
didn't want the hassle of schlepping her own through the airport.

Price of a room package at D.C.'s Mandarin Oriental, including
presidential suite, chauffeured Mercedes limo and outfits from Neiman Marcus.

2,500: (
Number of U.S. troops used to stand guard as President Bush takes his
oath of office

Number of Kevlar vests for U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan that
could be purchased for $40 million.

$290: ( Bonus that
could go to each American solider serving in Iraq, if inauguration funds
were used for that purpose.

$6.3 million: (
Amount contributed by the finance and investment industry, which works
out to be 25 percent of all the money collected.

$17 million: ( Amount
of money the White House is forcing the cash-strapped city of
Washington, D.C., to pony up for inauguration security.

9: ( Percentage
of D.C. residents who voted for Bush in 2004.

66: (
Percentage of Americans who think this over-the-top inauguration should
have been scaled back.