Your front-page headline to an Associated Press story proclaims "One minute to swear in Bush and $40 million to celebrate" (The Daily Astorian, Jan. 13). The headline and the story attempted to unfavorably compare the Bush inauguration to the first Clinton inauguration, which the AP claims cost $33 million.

Standard and accepted economic data indicate that in the 12 years from 1993 to the present, the inflation rate (and the CPI) averaged about 2.55 percent. It can easily be calculated that the first Clinton swearing-in would cost $44.6 million in today's inflated dollars.

And, unless Congress changed it while I was sleeping, the oath of office Bush took is word-for-word the same length as that recited 12 years ago. So, I suppose your headline could just as well read "Bush to take same time as Clinton for inauguration, but spend $4.5 million less to celebrate." But you wouldn't do that; Bob Herbert, Molly Ivins, Les AuCoin and all the other America-bashers wouldn't approve.

William J. Furnish



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