All year, we have been waiting to hear about a so-called “return to normalcy”. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a desire to get back to a more careful approach. As a result of these desires, the inauguration traditions that we are accustomed to are about to change. You would think that this includes the tradition we like to call “gouging the heck out of people who want to be in attendance” would have changed, too.
Of course, there are some traditions that are going to live on and this is one of them. The VIP donor packages that are being offered for the inauguration are positively insane. Kenneth P. Vogel shared the scoop and we cannot stop laughing. It’s hard to be too angry at anyone who is willing to fork over this kind of coin and risk their lives in the process.
“NEW: For $1M, corporations can be listed as a “chair” of JOE BIDEN’s inauguration ($500k for individuals). Donor packages include “virtual signed photos” with Biden, @KamalaHarris & their spouses, plus virtual briefings with inaugural & campaign leaders,” Vogel tweeted. Sure, they may claim that the access is being sold to organizations but the word they really wanted to use is “corporations”.
Even the New York Times seemed to express some doubt about this plan and they are usually the first ones to praise everything that Biden does. If you read between the lines here, you are sure to notice a sizable amount of skepticism. “President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s inaugural committee released a menu of perks for donors to his inauguration this week, reflecting an aggressive fund-raising effort, despite plans for a less expensive and mostly virtual event lacking the elaborate balls and concerts that have been staples of past inaugurations,” they begin.
That’s some very purposeful writing there. They want to know why Biden needs all this money when the inauguration is supposed to be a more low-key affair this year. “Corporations and other organizations that donate $1 million and individuals who donate $500,000 — the maximum donations that the committee has said it will accept from each category of donor — will be listed as chairs of the inaugural committee,” the Times continues.
The perks that are being listed should be disconcerting to anyone who wonders what this kind of money can buy. “Top donors also will receive “event sponsorship opportunities,” though the brochure does not specify the events, as well as access to virtual briefings with leaders of the inaugural committee and campaign, “V.I.P. exclusive merchandise” and four V.I.P. tickets to a future in-person event,” says the Times.
Boeing, Bank of America, and Ford Motor Company have already staked their claims. Biden claims that he won’t allow the committee to receive funding from companies that rely on fossil fuels but we’ll see how long that lasts. There are those who will point out the obvious: Barack Obama and Donald Trump both had no problem accepting corporate handouts to fund their galas.
So why should anyone care what Biden does? People cannot seem to shake the idea that Biden is merely going to pocket the extra cash because the inauguration is not going to be a costly event this year. MSN spoke with the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies and they don’t seem to think this much funding is needed. “The ceremony’s footprint will be extremely limited, and the parade that follows will be reimagined,” the committee said, adding that it was “urging the public to refrain from any travel and participate in the inaugural activities from home.”
Bloomberg reports that this event will resemble a State of the Union address, as opposed to a typical inauguration. Biden and Harris need to explain what they are going to be doing with all of this cash, as soon as possible. Near as we can tell, they don’t seem to have very much justification for raising this much money on such short notice.