Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Crony Capitalism and Romney's Olympics

Given the Romney team's baseless accusation that the Obama Administration engages in "crony capitalism", via Charles Pierce I give you Sports Illustrated on the Utah Winter Olympics.
Is this a great country or what? A millionaire developer wants a road built, the federal government supplies the cash to construct it. A billionaire ski-resort owner covets a choice piece of public land. No problem. The federal government arranges for him to have it. Some millionaire businessmen stand to profit nicely if the local highway network is vastly improved. Of course. The federal government provides the money.

How can you get yours, you ask? Easy. Just help your hometown land the Olympics. Then, when no one's looking, persuade the federal government to pay for a good chunk of the Games, including virtually any project to which the magic word Olympics can be attached.

For the past few years, while attention was focused on the Great Olympic Bribery Scandal—in which Salt Lake City boosters dispensed as much as $7 million in gifts, travel, scholarships, medical care, jobs and other goodies to IOC members (and their relatives and companions) to ensure that Utah's capital city would be chosen to host the 2002 Winter Games—private and public interests have siphoned an estimated $1.5 billion out of the U.S. Treasury, all in the name of those same Olympics.
It would seem that after running away from his record as Governor of Massachusetts, and seeing his tenure at Bain fade as an effective cornerstone for why he would be a good choice as President, Romney's out to open the door to his one remaining claim to fame (other than his family name).

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