Friday, June 11, 2004

Reagan's Funeral -- the most expensive funeral ever?

Waves of Mourners Honor Reagan in D.C.

It's probably impolite to ask this, but it is an interesting question nonetheless: What will be the total cost of Reagan's funeral?

First, there's the cost of flying the coffin around. According to this article, Air Force One costs $56,800-per-hour to operate. Figure it's operating 20 hours to fly the coffin around and that's over a million bucks there.

Then there is the federal holiday that President Bush declared. According to this article:To make the math easy, let's assume that it's two million people affected by this decree, and they make an average of $200 per day. Both of those numbers are low (the U.S. post office alone has over 800,000 employees), but that totals $400 million.

Then, because today was declared a national day of mourning, Wall street followed Washington's lead, so the markets are closed today. Heaven help you if you were planning a stock trading strategy around trading on June 11. Let's say this and its ripple effects are worth another $400 million.

Then there's the cost of the funeral itself...

And all of the extra security around the funeral and the viewings...

Plus the cost of all of the media coverage...

It's a lot of money. It will probably approach a billion dollars when it is all said and done.

Is it a world record?

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