The Presidential Inauguration Committee wanted to use Ticketmaster to sell a limited amount of inauguration day tickets to potential buyers for $60 a piece. But Ticketmaster released the ticket a day earlier than expected, and they were quickly sold out. Now it’s helping to fuel concerns of “scalping.”
Senator Chuck Schumer, a member of the joint congressional committee on inaugural ceremonies (important stuff with $16 trillion in debt!), has already stepped in, getting eBay and CraigsList to remove listings for the inaugural tickets, which can fetch up to $2000. The inauguration shouldn’t be a chance to “make a quick buck,” Schumer said. But why not? This is still America, after all. Estimates for how much business the event could help generate reach half a billion dollars. Vendors are sure to push Obama wares around the city, as some have been doing since 2007.
And if inaugural tickets are distributed for free, they’re bound to be made available by people who don’t want to go or who’d prefer some extra money in their pocket. Schumer says the event is a chance to “celebrate our democracy.” But there’s nothing democratic about handing out tickets to those best connected to the levers of power. Scalping those tickets, on the other hand, seems a celebration of the free market spirit that’s helped enrich the country.