By the time Barack and Michelle Obama dance the last waltz at the inaugural balls in the wee hours next Wednesday morning, the total tab for the inauguration will be close to a record $160 million, reports the New York Daily News. The president-elect is raising $45 million in private funds to help pay for the extravaganza, but most costs will be borne by taxpayers.
The federal government has budgeted more than three times what it spent on President Bush's first inauguration in 2001. Extra costs include opening the entire length of the National Mall and providing Jumbo Tron coverage of the swearing-in ceremony. The inauguration is an economic bonanza for local businesses. "This is our Super Bowl multiplied significantly," said the president of a business promotion organization. "It's a chance for us to take advantage of a downtime in the economy."