WASHINGTON — The pomp surrounding the inauguration of the president of the United States can carry a hefty price tag, from the glitzy galas to all those inaugural balls.
Think of it this way: It can cost about the same as 150 Bentley cars, several dozen yachts or some $20 million shy of the cash needed for a Boeing 737.
But taxpayers aren't on the hook for the fun stuff — the balls and other celebratory events — and this inauguration won't be as big as the last one for President Barack Obama.
A solid chunk of the tab for the 57th inauguration next month will be picked up by loyal supporters and other private donors, as it has been for years. In 2009, Obama raised $53 million in private money for his inauguration, when a record 1.8 million people braved the winter chill to see him take his place in history as America's first black president.
Previous inaugural committees have raised big cash, too, though not as much as Obama. President George W. Bush had about $40 million raised for each of his inaugurals. For President Bill Clinton, it was about $30 million in 1997.
With the slow economy, around Obama is scaling back the celebrations a bit.
The official activities will span three days, starting with a National Day of Service on Jan. 19 and culminating on Jan. 21 with the swearing-in, the parade and the balls. Last time, it was four days of events.