Unemployment is on the rise. The stock market is in the tank. Is this any time for a party? For the sake of the masses expected for President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration, let's hope so. While Obama must be sensitive to the nation's time of war and recession, there's still reason to expect a rollicking time. "Americans are people who love to indulge," one expert says.
"We're mindful of the fact that people in this country are hurting," says a spokeswoman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which has disclosed few details. "On the other hand, we see this as a time for people to celebrate their shared aspirations and goals." Though never cheap—George W. Bush raised $42 million to finance his second inauguration—an inauguration helps set the tone for a presidency, says a political scholar.