Chicago Olympics Point / Counterpoint

President’s showboating yields no results

Article by: Jeff Fish

President Obama’s trip to Copenhagen last week to secure Chicago as the location for the 2016 Summer Olympics was a vain attempt to flaunt his star power and distract the American people from the real issues this country faces, including an ailing economy, two wars abroad, and a divisive battle in Congress over Heath Care reform.

By travelling to Denmark, the President neglected these issues in favor of an event that will not take place for another seven years.

The prospect of the Summer Games taking place in the Windy City seemed like a sure thing just because Obama wanted it, but the unimaginable happened when the selection committee opted instead to have it in Brazil, making history by having it hosted in South America for the first ever.

The attempt to sway the committee by his mere presence was arrogant and in doing so he was acting more like a celebrity than Commander-in-Chief. The fact that Oprah went with him only adds to this persona. This trip to Copenhagen is the latest in a series of talk show appearances and town hall meetings that Obama holds instead of sitting down in the Oval Office and doing what he was elected to do.

Presidents should make themselves seen by the American people, but not to the extent that this President is. It seems like he tries to pitch his policies more than actually working on them as if he never left the campaign trail.

Obama certainly would have had a lot to gain personally from landing Chicago the honor of hosting the Olympics, but many of his associates in Chicago would likely have made a fortune on hosting it, including Valerie Jarrett, an adviser to the President who used to work for Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

Jarrett owns low income housing near the proposed location of the Olympic stadium and would have stood to make billions by rebuilding these properties and converting them into housing for the Olympics.

But while a few Chicagoans would have benefitted financially, the taxpayers of Chicago would ultimately bear the brunt of the massive tab that the city would have built up. It would take a miracle for the city to make back the billions of dollars that would be spent.

Fortunately for the citizens of Chicago, they don’t have to practically go bankrupt just to cover the cost of the games. This liability falls with the people of Rio de Janeiro.

Chicagoans out of the running, city saddened by Olympic decision

Article by: Matt Altieri

“Your Majesty: the hour has struck, a visionary dream has today become a glorious reality. At the end of the worldwide struggle in 1945, many institutions and associations were found to have withered and only the strongest had survived. How, many wondered, had the great Olympic Movement prospered?” stated Lord David Burghley, President of the International Amateur Athletics Association, at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London on July 29.

Burghley’s words echoed the thoughts that were on the minds of many British citizens during the aftermath of World War II. Some people doubted that London’s economy and housing production would meet the requirements for the International Olympics Committee. According to an article from UK Newspaper The Independent, even though the London games faced fierce opposition and doubt, “they were a games that enjoyed an abundance of less tangible nourishment – good will, idealism and hope.”

That is why I’m ashamed that the 2016 Olympics will not be in Chicago. The hope of prosperity that the British had which led them to hosting the Olympics in 1948 was not mirrored by the Chicagoans and other Americans that thought Chicago was more than capable to host the Olympics in 2016. Unfortunately, within mere moments, those dreams were swept away when Brazil was granted to host the games in Rio de Janeiro.

Chicago was more than capable of hosting the games. CityofChicago.org released a statement from the Mayor Richard M. Daley, in which Daley promised a ‘safety net’ for Chicago taxpayers of billions of dollars. As the website notes, “should the Olympics fail to make a profit – something Chicago 2016 deeply believes won’t happen – the Committee has put or will put in place over $2.2 billion in various ‘safety nets’ to protect taxpayers.” What citizen of Chicago wouldn’t want the Olympics to be hosted in the greatest city of the Midwest with no repercussions for the taxpayer?

“I would not pursue the Games if I believed there would be a deficit and if I believed taxpayers weren’t protected,” said Mayor Daley.

Not only this, but the website also states that the 2016 games in Chicago would have created, “$20 billion in new economic activity,” not to mention the “$1.5 billion in business taxes across the state.”

Aside from the surplus of money being pumped into Chicago through economic activity and sales taxes, guaranteed jobs for one full year would have been created for 315,000 Chicagoans.

It’s a shame Chicago has lost its opportunity to host the Olympics, as it would be a complete benefit to American society. Having the Olympics in Brazil passes up millions upon millions of dollars we badly need in this ailing economy.