The Democrats, who run this state, regularly fret over Illinois’s financial woes—the unpaid bills, the mortifying credit ratings, the benefits cuts to save one of the nation’s most underfunded pension systems. But then there is the dream of becoming home to Barack Obama’s presidential library, which is, it seems, a whole different matter. “In this case, we’re talking about a son of Illinois who became president of the United States,” Michael J. Madigan, the longtime Democratic speaker of the Illinois House, said on Wednesday, urging fellow lawmakers to pledge $100 million in state money as a way to help lure the presidential library here—and away from other states with claims on the president’s history, like New York and Hawaii.... Republicans do not see it that way. “The Democrats are putting up five or six different income tax hike proposals—all under the guise that we don’t even have enough money to run basic state services, but then let’s find $100 million for the library?” said Jim Durkin, the Republicans’ House leader. “I’m just baffled. I’m dumbfounded.”
Richard Nixon's presidential library cost $25,000,000. Jimmy Carter's presidential library cost $26,000,000. George H. W. Bush's presidential library cost $43,000,000. Bill Clinton's presidential library cost $165,000,000. George W. Bush's presidential library cost $250,000,000. The estimated cost of building Obama's presidential library are coming in at $500,000,000.
A half a billion dollars for a presidential library.
Barack Obama is our 44th president. There are only "13 presidential libraries and museums" in the United States, according to the NYT. So somehow US presidents used to come and go without leaving a presidential library/foundation/monument in their wake.
You know what I would love to see? Barack Obama put an end to this insanity by donating his papers to a university—I'd vote for the University of Chicago—along with enough money to permanently house his administration's papers and cover the salaries of however many archivists and librarians are needed to staff up the place. I would love to hear Obama say, "You know what? This Ozymandias shit ends with me."
It won't happen, of course. And Hillary Clinton will break ground on the first $1 trillion presidential library sometime in 2025.