Los Angeles has become the latest sucker to fall for the biggest corporatist sports scam in history: the Olympics and Paralympic Games, otherwise known as the Eater of Worlds.
For the third time since 1932, Los Angeles will host the Summer Olympic Games in 2028. City officials and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are jubilant over the move, but the taxpayers will be the ones ultimately footing the bill when the endless reports of cost overruns, shady corporatist deals and the violations of private property end up in the media.
Mayor Eric Garcetti is being heralded as the king dealmaker: he got the Olympics for a “bargain” of $5.3 billion, and the IOC will chip in $1.8 billion for the local organizing committee, reports The Los Angeles Times. The terms of the arrangement may change because the IOC membership will be holding a meeting in Peru in September.
For now, proponents are saying that it is a “win-win-win” for Los Angeles, the IOC and Paris, which will host the 2024 Olympics. And the mayor pledges his city won’t make the same mistakes as previous hosting cities:
This moment requires bold new solutions, bold new thinking, and I think Los Angeles is well poised – the best poised – to be able to answer those questions for the Olympic movement today.
I want something for the people of L.A. now. I want the excitement to build.
The primary reason Los Angeles was selected was because the IOC could not guarantee that any other city would be willing to take it in a decade. Boston, Budapest, Hamburg, Oslo, Rome, Toronto, and Vienna had all dropped their bids for the 2024 Olympics. Los Angeles didn’t even want the 2028 Games; one of North America’s largest cities aimed for the 2024 Games.
Ostensibly, the otiose IOC has been undergoing a bit of restructuring, attempting to make itself appear munificent. Following the debacles in Rio de Janeiro, the scandals in Sochi and the budgets doubling in Tokyo for the 2020 Summer Games, the IOC leadership has taken a more conservative approach to the Olympics.
Although Paris is going all out for the Games, Los Angeles has vowed not to be as opulent. They are only going to construct four new permanent venues and put up some temporary sites – the city has already refused to erect an expensive Olympic Village. But it’s still going to cost LA $5.3 billion, and as we have seen with every other major sporting events, the numbers usually balloon by the end of it all.
The Brazilian government initially estimated the Rio Summer Olympics would cost $4.6 billion, but this quickly skyrocketed to approximately $13 billion when all of the participants went home. And what did the country have to show for it? Green water, residents who lost their homes and floating furniture.
Los Angeles is presently swimming in immense levels of debt. For instance, its pension is sinking the city as three retirement systems – power workers, water, and public safety workers – have a combined $15 billion worth of debt. Meanwhile, its long-term debt projections are about $20 billion…and counting.
And now it is going to welcome the corrupt Olympics?
The fact is that the IOC is just as crooked, corrupt and carnivorous as FIFA. Despite what the Los Angeles officials are averring to the public, sporting events, even something like the NHL or MLB, do not generate wealth for local economies. Studies have found that if local sports teams left the city, it would only impact the economy by one percent, says Michael Leeds, a sports economist at Temple University:
If you ever had a consensus in economics, this would be it. There is no impact.
If every sports team in Chicago were to suddenly disappear, the impact on the Chicago economy would be a fraction of 1 percent.
Of course, they do offer a plethora of benefits for the millionaires and billionaires, the well-connected and, of course, the politicians. The well-connected wealthy receive lucrative contracts from politicians in exchange for support come election time. This is politics folks.
And when the Olympics depart, the IOC members get to reside in luxury after fleecing taxpayers.
Thankfully, jurisdictions are beginning to be punctilious, which is causing the IOC to be more judicious and fair with host nations. Yes, the IOC is making some concessions today, but it won’t be as kind in perpetuity.
If public officials start believing that it’s going to be this way forever, then there is an abandoned $471 million Olympic Stadium that Beijing wants to sell to you. Once the organization has shown some good faith to bidders over the next couple of years, it will eventually return to its grifting nature.
If politicians really cared about taxpayers, they would end this sham now.
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