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Inauguration: Lifestyles of the Rich and Heartless

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

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.

$20,000: Cost of yellow roses purchased for inaugural festivities by D.C.'s Ritz Carlton.

200: 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 inauguration.

$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.

$15,000: 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.

$200,500: 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

26,000: 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.

© American Progress Action Fund

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Information Clearing House has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Information Clearing House endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

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