I Plead the Third

I consider winning the Olympics for one's town to be roughly equivalent to army choosing to quarter itself in my house.  So I am pleased that this particular financial locust will go someplace else to pig out.  I am happy to watch it occur in some exotic locale to which I do not pay taxes.

I am reluctant to pile on Obama, though he certainly would have claimed credit had Chicago won.  I will say that the US managed to win an Olympic bid during even the Carter administration, though because the Montreal Olympics were such a financial disaster, LA really didn't have any competition when it was bidding in 1978.  One other city expressed interest that year - Tehran.  What a disaster that would have been.

Please don't tell me the LA Olympics "made money."  The city of LA and state of California subsidized the games in all kinds of ways that never hit the income statement of the organizing committee, starting with police and congestion costs.  Only in comparison to the financial disaster that was Montreal could the LA Olympics be called a financial success.

  • me

    Sounds like a signalling function, just like a peacocks tail or an armani ensemble - if your country/state can host the Olympics, it's proving its financial potency. There is an insteresting implied lesson here, with respect to the US and China that might have been a good indicator a while back.

  • Let’s call it the Michelle + Oprah implosion…

  • commieBob

    I totally agree about the Olympics. I'm really not sure who the Olympics are good for.

    For many years, Toronto has had a group of local anti-poverty activists called "Bread not Circuses" who have opposed its Olympic bids, among other things. For sure, the Olympics hurt those who are least able to protect themselves.

    Like the good pinko liberal commie that I am, I don't object to paying taxes. I do object strenuously to having my hard earned money wasted to bolster the egos of a bunch of fat ***** (bottomed) politicians with their grandiose schemes.

    One of my all time favorite cartoons features a very pregnant (male) mayor of Montreal who was famously quoted as saying: "The Olympics can no more have a deficit than a man can have a baby."

    http://bp3.blogger.com/_gCayFzinbX8/Rhbm9eYmpUI/AAAAAAAAAXQ/MIQLnpZf67o/s400/drapeau.jpg

  • Not Sure

    Like the good pinko liberal commie that I am, I don’t object to paying taxes. I do object strenuously to having my hard earned money wasted to bolster the egos of a bunch of fat ***** (bottomed) politicians with their grandiose schemes. - commieBob

    Here's the problem with that, Bob... there are no doubt people who *don't* mind their tax dollars going to pay for an Olympics, but who *do* mind paying for some of the stuff you think is okay to spend money on.

    Once you agree that the government should tax people, there *will* be waste, regardless of who you ask. Even commies. 😉

  • Cold Englishman

    Give thanks that you have avoided it. Here in UK we shall have it in 2012. The original budget (in order for London to cheat and 'win' it), was £2 billion plus small change. Currently agreed budget is £9 billion plus change. Most engineers I know, agree that it will top out at about £20 billion, but no politician will mention that. After all, we managed to build a tent on the Greenwich peninsula, and that cost £1 billion.
    Meanwhile, research budgets, road maintenance etc.......... are all on hold or cancelled because of budget deficiencies. What a mess.
    You are also right to highlight the hidden costs, of security transport etc., close to your heart I know is that we shall enjoy a new light rail connection out to the east of London. And don't get me on all the small businesses who were simply kicked out of the area, with compensation agreed by the government actuaries, who of course are trying to keep the costs down to their mythical £9 billion. The whole sorry mess is a disgrace, and that's before the inevitable drug scandals which will emerge. Does anybody watch these games any more? In 2012, I'm off to the USA on my hols. Can't wait.

  • Can you imagine how much Obama would have spent on his hometown to out-China China? $20 billion and counting for the London/2012 games. Incredible.

    Thank goodness the Olympics are elsewhere. But in our time zone so we can watch the debacle in real time.

  • Artemis

    The Olympics were very destructive to Atlanta. Though to be fair, they were a drop in the bucket to the financial ruin of being run by 100 years of Democrats.

    If you'd like to see what Democrat control looks like, come to Atlanta and look at their balance sheets. And don't give me any of that crap about "Southern Democrats". They're not as extreme as California, but I promise you, they're still Democrats.

  • Angus Scott-Fleming

    Interesting commentary here from that conservative bastion, the New York Times: Chicago’s Loss: Is Passport Control to Blame? - In Transit Blog - NYTimes.com
    http://intransit.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/02/chicagos-loss-is-passport-control-to-blame/

    "Did Chicago lose the chance to host the 2016 Olympics because of airport security issues?

    Among the toughest questions posed to the Chicago bid team this week in Copenhagen was one that raised the issue of what kind of welcome foreigners would get from airport officials when they arrived in this country to attend the Games. Syed Shahid Ali, an I.O.C. member from Pakistan, in the question-and-answer session following Chicago's official presentation, pointed out that entering the United States can be "a rather harrowing experience.""

  • Fred from Canuckistan . . .

    Well us Vancouverites are about 5 months away from hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics and we are doing well. Yes their are issues but in the greater scheme of things, Vancouver/Whistler will prosper greatly by these olympics.

    Do come for a visit, tune in to watch the games. We are looking forward to hosting the world.

  • Chris K.

    The Olympics are such BS anyway, pumped up nationalism, faux amateur sports, etc.

    I'm conflicted though. While I relish the bitchslap this is to obama and his cronies that won't make big bucks developing the Chicago area (valerie jarrett) is gratifying. I feel bad for Rio, the city least able to afford the boondoggle got shackled with it.

    The Olympics need to die.

  • feeblemind

    I read where some IOC members were not happy about the Obamas swooping in and stealing their show. It may have contributed to Chicago not getting the nod. If that was the case, the $1.2 million reported by Fox as the cost of flying AF-1 over there and back was money well spent. CNN Money reported in a 9/30 article that Chicago spent $100 million trying to reel in the Olympic Games. The taxpayers can't be pleased. I wonder how much Rio spent?

  • spiro

    feeble,

    I doubt Rio paid more, they probably just provided better hookers. After all, Brazilian women vs. Chicago women? Might as well be Brazilian soccer vs some MLS team with a meteorological name from a suburban town in the Midwest.

  • wise-old-bird

    I don't think we would be piling on Obama if Chicago came in second. The problem is he expended a lot of personal capital on getting the Olympics to Chicago, and Chicago came in last place.

    I think it will be difficult for the US to win Olympics after the Salt lake City debacle. We can no longer give the committee bribes, but every other country still can.

  • sabril

    There's gotta be a way to make the Olympics profitable. The Superbowl makes money, right? The World Series makes money, right? So what's the problem with the Olympics? Is it just that the host city has to build a lot of stadiums and stuff?

  • spiro

    sabril,

    It's the building of structures (which often are never used again and become giant concrete-bound wild gardens), and the super-saturation of uninteresting events. Sure, millions of people tune in for the track and field, swimming, diving, etc. But WHO watches the garbage PC sports that they've added to the Olympics like speed chess, cup stacking, dish washing and cheese shredding? You lose plenty of money employing security and officials for empty stadiums too.

    Plus, foreign athletes come to the Olympics with 2 things, IOC rules and a $20 - and they usually beak neither.

  • spiro

    "beak" = "break"

  • Just a small correction. 20,000,000,000 British Pounds is closer to 35,000,000,000 USD. So the cost is much greater than a mere $20B.

  • Mark

    Chicago apparently spent $100 million just in making the BID for the Olympic games. How do you spend that kind of money? I think one of the biggest unrecorded scams going on in this country is how political money ends up in the hands of people like David Axelrod, etc. These people make millions of dollars "consulting" and providing other "services". What a campaign, political or public relations, spends seems to be completely ignored. Many of the candidates wives, relatives, and MISTRESSES get comfy "jobs" paid for with campaign cash. THese are the real political payoffs.

    Just think of the graft and payoffs that were made in the $100 million of Chicago expenses. WHo got what? Can they even account for it? And that was just the tip of the iceburg if they would of actually got the tens of billions of dollars that would have been spent in probably one of the top sleaze pits in the United States. Most people in Chicago opposed the Olympic bid because of this. They know that about 25% of the public money is taken right off the top for payoffs to unions and other graft. AND, the city council had voted 49-0 that any cost overrun would be paid for by the taxpayers of the city.

  • Sanddog

    Having survived the '96 Olympics I can honestly say I wouldn't wish it on any city in America. If the socialist countries want to tax the hell out of their subjects to pay for the "honor", have at it.

  • BobH

    "We can no longer give the committee bribes, but every other country still can."

    Do you really think the Daley gang would have ethical qualms about bribery?

    The only problem they might have is that they are much more experienced at being on the receiving end.

  • nom de guerre

    "reluctant to pile on obama" for the olympic sellathon debacle, coyote? why?

    we were treated to the sight of an exceptionally narcissistic president employing exceptionally vain and arrogant (and crude) methods of salesmanship in an unprecedented (for a US president, anyway) effort to sway an olympic committee into steering a games (and lots and lots of lovely graft and sweetheart deals) to his hometown. and he did all this in the most public, in-your-face way imaginable.

    he ended up not just *failing*....oh, no. he got himself **bitch-slapped** down in the most humiliating way the IOC had to offer: as i understand it, all candidate cities are still in the running for 2016 EXCEPT the one our Dear Leader was pushing for. that's not just epic failure, oh no. that's epic failure that was run at the top of the news/headlines in every news organ in the WORLD.

    when THAT degree of vanity and arrogance is met with THAT degree of personal humiliation and failure, i'd say that calls for at least a little piling on. god knows what the liberals would do if bush had tried it and failed. barack is learning it's a cold world out there, and - despite what his advisors have told him - not everyone loves him as they would the messiah. the next 3 years are going to be FUN. i predict he'll be comparing himself to jesus ("forgive them father, they know not what they do") no later than june 2011.

  • Rodrigo

    @Spiro:Hey! My country's men's cheese-grating team is bound for a medal this year. They've been working hard.

    As much as I love watching the Olympics - because it's the only chance you get for watching world-class gymaniatics or diving - it just doesn't make money for the city; it's a fantastic ego-trip for the organizers and a feel-good moment for the city.

  • Val

    nom de guerre - tyvm for your post:

    "he got himself **bitch-slapped** down in the most humiliating way the IOC had to offer: as i understand it, all candidate cities are still in the running for 2016 EXCEPT the one our Dear Leader was pushing for. that’s not just epic failure, oh no. that’s epic failure that was run at the top of the news/headlines in every news organ in the WORLD."

    Took all the words right out of my keyboard. However, I would go further to pose the question: What does this do to the world standing that all of these genius democrats went on and on about their superior ability to improve? It is an unfortunate thing that we are having to witness and suffer (which will continue long after) the lesson that most teenagers learn as they age, in that their immature views of how things really are or should be do not match what is and what really works.

  • morganovich

    in typical "i am the victim fashion" many supporters of obama are ----wait for it------
    BLAMING BUSH.

    now, while i have no love for bush jr, at what point will this gang start taking responsibility instead of blaming the last guy?

    text below:

    "There must be" resentment against America, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said, near the stage where he had hoped to give a victory speech in Daley Center Plaza. "The way we [refused to sign] the Kyoto Treaty, we misled the world into Iraq. The world had a very bad taste in its mouth about us. But there was such a turnaround after last November. The world now feels better about America and about Americans. That's why I thought the president's going was the deal-maker."

    State Rep. Susana Mendoza (D-Chicago) said she saw firsthand the resentment against America five years ago when she was in Rio de Janeiro. "I feel in my gut that this vote today was political and mean-spirited," she said.

    "I travel a lot. ... I thought we had really turned a corner with the election of President Obama. People are so much more welcoming of Americans now. But this isn't the people of those countries. This is the leaders still living with outdated impressions of Americans."

  • Scott Wiggins

    Fox news is wrong with regard to the costs of Obama's Airlift to Copenhagen. They reported only 1.2 million. That figure was likely Air Force One's costs alone. However, the President does not travel alone. We airlift Helicopter support and limousine service along with hundreds of security staff. We likely flew an additional three or four C-17s to support dear leader's venture. The figure certainly ran tens of millions. So, all of us get to pay for an event that only Chicago would have benefited.

  • VA

    @Spiro:Hey! My country’s men’s cheese-grating team is bound for a medal this year. They’ve been working hard.
    As much as I love watching the Olympics – because it’s the only chance you get for watching world-class gymaniatics or diving – it just doesn’t make money for the city; it’s a fantastic ego-trip for the organizers and a feel-good moment for the city.

  • HO

    “reluctant to pile on obama” for the olympic sellathon debacle, coyote? why?
    we were treated to the sight of an exceptionally narcissistic president employing exceptionally vain and arrogant (and crude) methods of salesmanship in an unprecedented (for a US president, anyway) effort to sway an olympic committee into steering a games (and lots and lots of lovely graft and sweetheart deals) to his hometown. and he did all this in the most public, in-your-face way imaginable.
    he ended up not just *failing*….oh, no. he got himself **bitch-slapped** down in the most humiliating way the IOC had to offer: as i understand it, all candidate cities are still in the running for 2016 EXCEPT the one our Dear Leader was pushing for. that’s not just epic failure, oh no. that’s epic failure that was run at the top of the news/headlines in every news organ in the WORLD.
    when THAT degree of vanity and arrogance is met with THAT degree of personal humiliation and failure, i’d say that calls for at least a little piling on. god knows what the liberals would do if bush had tried it and failed. barack is learning it’s a cold world out there, and – despite what his advisors have told him – not everyone loves him as they would the messiah. the next 3 years are going to be FUN. i predict he’ll be comparing himself to jesus (”forgive them father, they know not what they do”) no later than june 2011.

  • nom de guerre

    odd....that comment above fills me with the most strange sensation of deja vu......as if...as if... as if i'd somehow seen it somewhere before, at some earlier time. i know this will sound crazy, but it's as if.... as if *I'd* written it. perhaps someone should check on the space-time continuum? see if it's still running ok?

  • Reformed Republican

    The Superbowl makes money, right?
    Yes, for the NFL.
    The World Series makes money, right?
    Yes, for MLB.
    So what’s the problem with the Olympics
    It makes money for the IOC, I am sure.

    The cities hosting these events get screwed, though. If the organizations responsible for these events actually had to pay for all of the costs involved, they would not be profitable.

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