Have we been too hard on Michelle Obama's spending? Here's a comparison from 1981.
When Ronald and Nancy Reagan moved into the White House, Nancy discovered that the official china was in a bad way. The White House did not have enough matching china to serve everyone from matching plates at a state dinner. So she ordered a new set.
There was an immediate uproar over Nancy's free-spending ways. It was pointed out that the money to buy the china was donated but that didn't help. Instead, critics pointed out that the donation was tax-deductible and figured out how much the china actually cost the paying public in lost taxes. At the time the top marginal tax rate was 70% so charitable deductions were worth more as tax deductions.
If getting matching china for state functions was spending too much then what are we to make of the Obamas?