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Swamponomics: Tokyo’s Gold Medal in 2020 Olympic Spending

Carbon capture, another debt ceiling battle, and the cost of hosting the Olympics.

The Japanese government paid how much to host the 2020 Olympics behind closed doors? Now that Japan is reporting approximately 3,000 new coronavirus infections per day, with only about one-third of the population fully vaccinated, officials chose to restrict public spectators from taking in a game of table tennis and a good old-fashioned archery match. By now, it is clear that the summer festivities are a sunk cost for the world’s third-largest economy.

How Much Does This Thing Cost Anyway?

When Japan bid for the 2020 Olympics nearly a decade ago, leaders spent $75 million. Many years later, that initial $75 million investment has skyrocketed into the billions. Japan’s National Audit Board estimates that the final price tag will be around $22 billion, while some local newspapers are penciling in that the cost overruns will come in at about $28 billion. This would make it the most expensive Olympic Games ever, ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 that printed a $21.9 billion receipt.

(Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images)

Showcasing the very best in athleticism has metastasized into a burden for the host city. It has become the norm for hosts to face double- and triple-digit overbudgets. It took Montreal, Quebec, which hosted the 1976 Summer Olympics, three decades to pay off its $1.5 billion debt. In other places, like Rio De Janeiro and Beijing, stadiums and other venues are abandoned, leaving behind symbols of waste and largesse.

And yet, governments keep submitting bids to host these things. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently selected Brisbane as a host of the 2032 event, following Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028. Nobody needs a crystal ball to anticipate what will happen: spending will go over budget limits, municipalities will continue to vie for the 2036, 2040, and 2044 fiscal calamities, and more athletes will generate headlines for all the wrong reasons.

What was once a special time to recognize the world’s best surfers, volleyballers, and skateboarders has transformed into a corporatist grift.

Until Debt Do Us Part?

Here we go again? Republicans and Democrats are set to engage in a fight over the debt limit that will be about as real as something out of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). The American people have seen this program before, and it always comes with the same ending: Both sides agree to increase the country’s debt limit in the 11th hour because they ostensibly reached concessions that will amount to a hill of beans in this crazy mixed-up political landscape.

Janet Yellen (Photo by Greg Nash -Pool/Getty Images)

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen recently penned a letter to Congress, urging lawmakers to raise or suspend the United States debt limit as soon as possible. If Washington fails to act by August 2, the Treasury Department will employ “extraordinary measures.”

She added that Oct. 1 could be a crucial date because many enormous federal outlays are scheduled for that day, so a failure to pass debt limit legislation would have tremendous consequences. “If Congress has not acted to suspend or increase the debt limit by Monday, August 2, 2021, Treasury will need to start taking certain additional extraordinary measures in order to prevent the United States from defaulting on its obligations,” wrote the former Federal Reserve chair in the letter.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the administration expects Congress “to act in a bipartisan manner, as they did three times under the prior administration, to raise the debt ceiling.” But many GOP senators are resisting increases to the debt ceiling over spending worries, perturbing Democrats who assert that the U.S. government is facing “Covid debt,” “Trump debt,” and “double standards.”

The current statutory debt limit is set at $28.5 trillion. Without an increase, the U.S. government either shuts its door or defaults on the debt.

Sucking CO2 from the Air

Did the private sector solve climate change? It turns out that scientists, entrepreneurs, and corporations have devised a better scheme at saving the planet than taxation: carbon capture. But what is it, who is doing it, and will it work?

Across the globe, a growing number of companies are embarking upon direct air capture that is essentially the process of vacuuming the atmosphere of carbon. For example, Climeworks, a Swiss-based firm, has dozens of immense fans cleaning the air of carbon dioxide. Others, like Carbon Engineering, have been manufacturing and deploying carbon-capture technology to remove CO2 from the air.

The practice has garnered lots of attraction, leading to significant investments from Audi, Microsoft, Shopify, and Stripe. Some industry experts say the market has already topped $1 trillion, with many investors seeing the incredible potential of eviscerating emissions and making an abundance of cash. Even energy behemoths, such as Chevron and Exxon, are getting in on the action. These oil and gas giants have been impressed because the process can also be utilized to release trapped crude underground. Suffice it to say, there is plenty of uses for this technology.

But will it work, or is it a pipe dream? Market analysts say it is possible if more of these technologies are expanded worldwide. If accurate, does this mean the end of the Green New Deal and other tax penalties to reverse climate change? Politicians would likely come up with some new end-of-the-world scenario that will require wealth confiscation. It does not matter how many times the world is saved – the statists need the money.


Read more from Andrew Moran.

Read More From Andrew Moran

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