As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block has ceased publication. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions over the past 12-plus years. 

TODAY

Saturday, May 25

Gapers Block
Search

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


The Mechanics
« Dumke v. Stone, Cf. Globetrotters v. Generals Obama and Duncan: Unanswered Questions »

Olympics Mon Aug 24 2009

Olympic Benefits: Made Up

The first two paragraphs of a recent Crain's Chicago Business piece by John Pletz are so juicily wonderful, so delicious, so perfect, that before I quote them for you, I want to give you the opportunity to go to the page itself and look at the picture next to the paragraphs, with local soulless plutocrat civic-minded booster Patrick Ryan and Mayor Daley, one filthy with lucre and the other filthy with power, staring at the words like accusations. Seriously, go there first and read them, then come back. While you're doing that, I'm going to continue working on this Freedom of Information Act request the city's aviation department (more on that later).

Are you back? Okay. For those of you that couldn't tear yourselves away, here's those paragraphs:

Mayor Richard M. Daley's prediction that the 2016 Olympics would give Chicago's economy a $22.5-billion boost vastly overstates the likely benefits of hosting the games, experts say.

"That's crazy," says Victor Matheson, a professor of economics at College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts who has studied the economic impact of the Olympics. "Anyone using this $22.5-billion number as justification to vote for the Olympics is being led down the garden path."

Games skeptics like myself have been saying this for years, literally years. There's no solid evidence that hosting the Olympics leads to any long-term economic benefit that is unique to having an Olympics. Particularly when you adjust for the massive costs overruns that have accompanied nearly all of the modern games, and certainly all the games in the new millennium.

Let's sum up the Bid Committee's case: there will be no structural improvements to infrastructure; the city has to promise to cover all debt with taxpayer money; there will be thousands of private paramilitary security on the streets of Chicago for months; certain beaches on the Lakefront, including 31st Street, will be privatized, thousands of luxury condos will be built subsidized by taxpayer money and introduced into a glutted market; and temporary service sector jobs that may just be replacing displaced jobs from business avoiding the city due to Olympic markups.

Why are we considering this again? Oh yeah; "we're" not. The unelected, unaccountable, and non-transparent Bid Committee is.

Disclosure: I was a co-founder of No Games: Chicago.

 
GB store
GB store

Feature

Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...

Civics

Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

Special Series

Classroom Mechanics Oral History Project
GB store



About Mechanics

Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Mike Ewing, mike@gapersblock.com
Mechanics staff inbox: mechanics@gapersblock.com

Archives

 

 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15