Sunday, January 02, 2005

Letter to the President on inaugurations and compassionate conservatism

(Sent to President Bush via

The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Re: Inauguration cost and tsunami aid

Mr. President:

Soon you will spend a record $40 million on your upcoming inauguration for your second term. Granted, inaugurations are traditional ceremonial events, but the pomp and circumstance is unnecessary. I feel you could raise your standing somewhat with a gesture towards the victims of the tsunami by forgoing the expensive ceremony (not only the $40 million price tag, but the cost of security and other issues related to it) and donate the money to aid agencies.

We've seen many instances of fiscal need in our own government...the cutting of Pell Grants, the lack of proper equipment for our troops in Iraq, the alleged "crisis" of Social Security, cost‑cutting ideas involving federal worker pay, even cuts in special combat pays for our troops. In light of this, excesses of ceremony and royal‑seeming pomp (like the $40 million inauguration or the re‑purchase of the Presidential yacht for another $2 million) seem callous and almost Marie Antionette‑ish.

As a "compassionate conservative" a gesture of forgoing the inauguration and donating the money to tsunami aid would be a symbolic one (in light of the $350 billion we've now pledged after being called "stingy"), but one that would be seen by many as a truly caring one, and would likely elevate your standing and that of the US in many eyes.


Robert Schumacher


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