Something didn't feel right about it, and today I found out why.
The costs for Bush's inauguration do not include security. Tradition has always been that security costs were not included in the figure, because security is something that's going to happen anyway. Even if you threw away all the trappings and boiled the thing down to the basic ceremony, the security costs are still going to be expensive. The figures being quoted for Obama's inauguration include the security costs, so as a result you are comparing two completely different figures. A recent article in the New York Times said of the 2005 inauguration that "the federal government and the District of Columbia spent a combined $115.5 million, most of it for security, the swearing-in ceremony, cleanup and for a holiday for federal workers" [emphasis mine].
Add that $115.5 million to the $42.3 million, and you have a grand total of $157.8 million, not that much different to the figure being quoted for Obama.
And we'll ignore for the moment the dubious language being used in the reports on the costs of Obama's inauguration. "and when he's done ... the price tag for his swearing-in festivities could approach $160 million." Did you see that? Could approach. The costs "could approach" a billion too. I could approach a millionaire, but that doesn't make me one, now does it?
I hate the media. I want my media to be report fact, not hyperbole, not baseless opinions. I'm a smart man, I want you to report to me what actually is happening, and then I'll make up my own mind thanks.
Source information: http://mediamatters.org/columns/200901170003