Memo to Bob Costas: Better get a jump on writing excuses for the Summer Olympic organizers.
This year’s host country, Brazil (#5 in the world in terms of population), re-elected a socialist, Dilma Rousseff, as president in 2014. Doom was certain, but those who predicted it were called naysayers.
From The Economist: “Brazil’s suffering, like that of other emerging economies, stems partly from the fall in global commodity prices. But Ms. Rousseff and her left-wing Workers’ Party have made a bad situation much worse. During her first term, in 2011-14, she spent extravagantly and unwisely on higher pensions and unproductive tax breaks for favored industries. The fiscal deficit swelled from 2% of GDP in 2010 to 10% in 2015.”
Meanwhile, the organizers Mr. Costas will be sucking up to are trying to keep the operating budget at $1.9 billion, approximately what they think can be raised through ticket sales, sponsorships and the like. That means cutting $500 million in ways big and small, everything from screwing volunteers to making LeBron James pay for his air conditioning (should he stay in the Olympic Village).
Oh, and the lights are off at the main stadium as the city of Rio de Janeiro and the soccer club that plays there argue about an unpaid bill. The company counted on to supply auxiliary power for broadcasters has pulled out. The water sports will be contested in a sewage-infested bay.
From Veronique de Rugy of the National Review: “Reforms, obviously, will be hard when you have so many people and firms depending on government handouts for what they believe is their survival and when politicians are not only corrupt but convinced of the benefits of big government.”
Translation: Brazil is screwed. The Games begin Aug. 5. Good luck, NBC. Hope the peacock doesn’t get pinkeye – or worse, diarrhea.