President Obama is putting into place his plans to raise $1 billion to build a presidential library in Chicago.
That is not quite as much as was spent on his 2012 re-election campaign. According to his December 2012 Federal Election Commission filing, Obama spent $1.123 billion, as opposed to the $1.019 billion Mitt Romney spent on his campaign. That was the most expensive presidential election in history.
In the last 60 years, the cost of building and maintaining presidential libraries has accelerated and expanded in ways that Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S Truman may have never dreamed of. In library erected to the memory of President Lyndon Johnson cost 10 times as much as Truman’s. Then Ronald Reagan’s was triple the cost of Johnson’s. Not to out done, President George H.W. Bush doubled the Reagan budget, but President Bill Clinton then doubled Bush 41.
Then President George W. Bush raised $500 million to build and endow the shrine to his memory. But Obama will double down. Thus, within sixty year, the price tag for a library to honor a Chief Executive has segued from less than $2 million to $1 billion and maybe more.