Extravagence – It’s What To Teach Our Kids

by The Happy Rock on January 19, 2009

the-great-wall-of-china-plates-funnySet a good example of extravagance for all the world to see, that is what Laura Bush did as one of her final acts as First Lady.  She unveiled the White House china that most 2 term first ladies are privileged to design. It cost $485,000! “The White House worried that general wear and tear had taken a toll on its fragile China collections and Perino says the Bushes took some time to decide on a new design.”  I am sure that the 8 year old  china the Hilary Clinton designed in 2000 that cost $250,000 must have been falling apart.  The White House China first got critical acclaim when Nancy Reagan unveiled her $200,000 design paid for by tax money amidst her husband’s slashing of the federal budget.

It isn’t quite as bad as you think though. A private foundation, the White House Historical Association, was founded after Nancy Reagan’s debacle to try and avoid the political backlash.   Even though none of our tax money was used, it still seems ludicrous to spent that kind of money on plates and even more ridiculous given the financial turmoil the country was in.  I am not so much worried about teaching our kids, we parents can handle that, but who is going to teach the politicians?

Here is the link to the Good Morning America video segment and the GMA text article if you want to see a few pictures.

What do you think?  Chime in on the poll below :

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

John @ Curious Cat Investing Blog January 19, 2009 at 4:19 pm

I agree we buy too much stuff and many of us seem to think we can’t be happy without lots of presents under a Christmas tree. While I agree these purchases of China seem extravagant I think that extra plates at the White House is not really a huge issue. The huge amount of buying tons or stuff overall however is a much bigger problem. And the huge amount of consumer debt is a huge problem.


Fabulously Broke January 19, 2009 at 5:26 pm

Hey, practice what you preach.

And they wonder why North Americans aren’t hellbent on saving, or why we think we deserve the 2 cars, big home, and 3 kids who go to private school on a $60,000 salary.

Why not? Just use credit.

I’m not an American (yet!) but that article turned my stomach. And don’t get me wrong, it’s not just the States. It’s Canada spending money on golf balls signed by the Prime Minister.


What a waste of money. $485k may not seem like a lot of money to the billions that the government may have in income, but a penny saved is still a penny earned.

I could go on and on… really. But I’ll gagging here.

Fabulously Broke in the City
Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver.


Spokane Al January 19, 2009 at 9:46 pm

I am amused at this posting and at the comment it generated. How is it that if you are concerned about setting the example and spending you have no problem with the $170 billion that Obama is spending on his inauguration, which is the most expensive in history?

I can remember the uproar over the cost of George Bush’s second inauguration, which was substantially cheaper than this one.

But then I guess there are different standards for republicans vs. democrats.

Have a great day.


Loretta January 20, 2009 at 9:01 am

I was going to post about the absurdity of the cost of the inaugeration when the country is deep in the heart of a recession…but I see some wise soul beat me to it. I think a $150,000,000 inaugeration that lasts only a few hours is more outrageous than a set of china costing $450,000 that is used frequently for 4-8 years. Both are extravagant, but the cost per use is much lower than the cost of this inaugeration for a one-time deal. So much for “Change”!
And I agree with the other poster…if this was a Republican president spending this money for an inaugeration, he would be run out of town on a rail!


The Happy Rock January 20, 2009 at 9:29 am

@John – It looks like at least a third of the people in the poll agree with you.

@FB – I think we are in agreement

@Al – I agree that the inauguration spending is egregious, but this post was typed up before the 160 million was thrown around as the inauguration cost.

@Loretta – The hard part is that this is what people want. The public is the ones going crazy too, so the public hype is matched by the spending. People are traveling days just to get there. It is that historic for people. The spending is still exorbitant either way.


Debt Destroyer January 20, 2009 at 11:28 pm

Both of the issues brought up here are non issues to me.
The White House needs fancy china to entertain numerous world leaders.

And it costs a lot of money to hold a presidential inauguration. This year’s costs are right in line with the last one…but with a much larger crowd.



MoneyTheory January 22, 2009 at 2:40 am

To me, the monetary value of certain things is sometimes just a random number thrown out of the air. I mean, a dish is a dish, a plate a plate, and it is really only as valuable as the money someone would actually exchange for it. Unless the china was made from the rarest material in the entire world, then I’m sure the cost to manufacture it was a minute fraction of what someone established its worth as, and what was paid for it.


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