Obama's Inauguration: An Unwitting Economic Stimulus Plan

| 11/25/2008 10:01:20 AM

The travel industry and Washington D.C. residents stand to benefit handsomely from Barack Obama’s inauguration. Obama fans are forking over serious cash just to be in the vicinity of the capital on January 20—forget actually attending the ceremony—making the bargains struck on Craigslist to score tickets to his Chicago victory rally look meager by comparison.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, D.C. resident Vanessa Jones rented her basement apartment for $4,100 during inauguration week. It only took about 15 minutes for offers to start pouring into her inbox in response to a Craigslist ad she posted.

One Austin couple has taken it upon themselves to organize the Texas migration to Washington for Obama’s swearing in, coughing up the cash to rent three buses, at a steep $12,000 each, to make the trip. They're looking to fill the buses through a Craigslist ad, reports Austin TV station, KVUE, where they're offering seats for $300 round-trip.

Those bus fares could be cheaper than plane tickets to D.C., which the San Francisco Chronicle reports are about 226 percent pricier than normal fares. Airlines are enjoying a hefty bump in business, with many adding special flights to Dulles to accommodate demand. JetBlue spokeswoman Alison Coyle told the Dallas Morning News, “We added these additional flights because on peak travel days, we are seeing bookings close to double what we would see on a normal day in January.”

How’s that for an economic stimulus?

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