Tags: Latin America | Unions | los angeles | olympics | rio de janeiro

Olympic Torch Sets Fire to Taxpayers' Wallets

Image: Olympic Torch Sets Fire to Taxpayers' Wallets
Earlier this year, Sidney Levy, chief executive officer of the Rio organizing committee, gave an interview in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Levy tried to run the committee with only private money. His $3 billion operating budget was frugal. He had to ask for a $250 million real bailout from governments. "I'm going to write a book and tell everything," he joked. (Silvia Izquierdo/AP)

Tuesday, 16 May 2017 09:04 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Right now the International Olympic Committee is considering bids from two cities to host the 2024 and the 2028 Olympic Games. You may be wondering why only two cities, when every major city in the world is eligible to compete?

If Rio de Janeiro can win — an Olympic venue with human waste floating in the bay where swimmers and sailors compete  — it looks like the sky’s the limit for any city with a functioning sewage system. Yet there are only two.

Maybe it’s because, as The Washington Post explains, "Costs are exorbitant, economic benefits are dubious, and fewer and fewer cities bother even throwing their hats in the ring." The first city is Paris — home of the new sport sweeping the continent: Dodge the jihadi in the truck — and Los Angeles — the enemy of the taxpayer.

I’m convinced first prize is hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics and second prize is being forced to host two sets of games.

In Rio the games were originally estimated to cost the city $12 billion, but the estimate from outside experts has the total cost for the 17-day event at a taxpayer staggering $20 billion. As University of California at Berkeley economist Andrew Rose told CBS, "hosting the Olympics is just a terrible idea because nearly every Olympics is grossly over budget and leaves the host city with billions in debt."

Certainly Los Angeles politicians never met a debt they couldn’t increase, but after Boston dropped out, why did Los Angeles pick up the sputtering torch?

That’s easy. Sponsoring an Olympics bid is a years-long gravy train for politicians. The direct benefits include "fact finding" trips to exotic cities that have hosted the games in the past. Then there is the five-star travel to make the initial bid in Lausanne, Switzerland. Followed by subsequent trips to upscale destinations to discuss progress of the bid.

Should the bid be accepted, the fun never ends. The politicians get to travel even more, but even better for them hosting the games confers political benefits. There are the appointments they get to make to host committees, organizing committees, and other Olympics-related bodies that reward supporters.

The union-friendly "prevailing wage" contracts keep the campaign contributions coming. Along with consulting contracts, management contracts, security contracts, and advertising contracts. Every step in the process generates more contributions by companies and individuals wanting a slice of the Olympic pie.

Every member of the Los Angeles City Council sees a guaranteed re-election looming on the horizon.

Taxpayers are told with a straight face the "Olympics will pay for itself" and there will be no new construction, and the budget will be a "bare bones" $5.3 billion. Which is what the politicians always say, but it’s too late to back out when the games go over budget.

For anyone else in the U.S. the fact only two cities are even interested in hosting the games would be a warning. But not in the one-party state of California and the one-party city of Los Angeles.

Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker’s bureau. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.

© Mike Reagan

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The International Olympic Committee is considering bids from two cities to host the 2024 and the 2028 games. For anyone else in the U.S. the fact only two cities are even interested in hosting the games would be a warning. But not in California and Los Angeles.
los angeles, olympics, rio de janeiro
Tuesday, 16 May 2017 09:04 AM
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