Obama stimulates luxury economy: Ritz-Carlton inauguration package sells for $99,000


President-elect Barack Obama may be the first commander-in-chief to improve the economy simply by raising his right hand and swearing on the Bible. A few months ago, I wondered if the hot market for inauguration tickets signified an economic recovery.

Today, news that a $99,000 Ritz-Carlton luxury inauguration package has sold seems symbol enough that yes, Obama is the Santa Claus of the recession's winter.

The package includes four nights in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Georgetown's Presidential suite, a set of Gucci luggage, two tickets to the parade and official ball. When the inauguration is over, the buyers will have a four-night stay at the Ritz in Grand Cayman to warm up from the D.C. winter.

So is this the indication that the recovery is here? Not so fast. It turns out that the many early reports of area residents renting their homes for extravagant prices for the festivities are mostly fiction. One metro-area blogger said that none of her neighbors were renting their homes, though many had listed them (and her math on the piece is interesting).

Is Obama's administration saving the planet before even taking office? Probably not, though it makes a great headline, doesn't it?