The Presidential Inauguration: A Prime Example of Why Politicians are Dumb

by A Blinkin on January 20, 2013

Here’s a fun fact for you to impress your co-workers at the water cooler: DID YOU KNOW…the Presidential Inauguration used to take place on March 4th, the day of the year which the Constitution first took effect (1789). After FDR, this date changed to January 20th. So why is the Inauguration Ceremony being held on January 21? Well, technically President Obama is making a private oath of office on January 20th. Monday is just the party.

Allow me to get the party started with a brief lesson in Economics. It will give you a good understanding of why politicians are dumb.

Inauguration Tickets

Congress gives out tickets to the Presidential Inauguration FOR FREE, typically by lottery. Joe Schmo enters his name into the lottery, his name is then selected, and the tickets are his. What Joe Schmo does with his tickets doesn’t matter.

Or does it?

What if Jane Doe REALLY wants to attend the inauguration, but her name was not selected in the lottery? This inauguration means the world to Jane, so she’ll do anything to ensure a spot in the crowd. Joe Schmo, being a savvy business man, decides to sell his ticket to Jane Doe for $500. Jane doesn’t have to buy this ticket, but she places a value on her attendance at $500 – and she buys the ticket.

Everybody is better off. Joe Schmo gets $500. Jane Doe gets to attend the inauguration. And the President speaks to a full crowd.

Unfortunately, the transaction is WAY TOO SIMPLE for a politician to understand. Some stereo-typical Democrat is OUTRAGED at  having to pay to attend the inauguration – which is supposed to be free.

In this specific case, the Democrat is Senator Chuck Schumer of New York. The Senator has worked diligently to ensure that neither eBay nor Craigslist allows listings for the inauguration. Here’s a quick quote from the Yahoo article:

“eBay and Craigslist are doing the right thing in stopping the sale of scalped tickets to one of our nation’s most sacred events.”

“I hope that everyone who has an Inaugural ticket will think twice before posting these tickets on any ticket resale site,” the senator added. “This is a chance for people from all 50 states to celebrate our democracy, not for ticket scalpers to make a quick buck.”

Optimal Solutions

  1. Allow Joe Schmo to sell his ticket to Jane Doe. This benefits both parties.
  2. Auction off the tickets and rebate these funds to American taxpayers. This benefits 47% of Americans +1.
  3. Auction off the tickets and apply this revenue to our growing national debt. This benefits everyone.
  4. We could give away the tickets for free. Tell eBay and Craiglist to monitor their sites. Punish lottery winners for selling their tickets. And prevent those that want to buy tickets from buying them.

Yep – I like the last one!

Good thinking, guys!

Written by A Blinkin

A Blinkin

Hunter Kern, aka A. Blinkin, is the blogger behind Funancials. His experience in banking, lending, payments and investments has earned him the title of “Personal Finance Guru.” In addition to helping people with their finances, Hunter enjoys crunchy tacos, spending time with his wife and puppy, and writing in third person.

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