Incomparable corporate subsidy reporters Donald Barlett and James Steele have tallied up the taxpayer dollars that went to the 2002 Winter Olympics, and come up with:
Many records were set at the 2002 Winter Games, but chances are that one will never be broken. That’s the amount of federal dollars that Romney and his crew siphoned out of the federal treasury to help pay for the Olympic games: $1.5 billion. That was more than the federal government had spent on all seven Olympic Games held in the U.S. since 1904—combined. In inflation-adjusted dollars…
With the help of Utah’s congressional delegation, Romney’s Salt Lake Olympic committee pried federal dollars out of more than three dozen agencies on an unprecedented scale: $500 million for highways, bridges, roads and interchanges; $30 million for parking lots; $25 million for buses; $11 million for infectious-disease monitoring, food inspection, and medical response; $2 million to house the media; $1 million for a weather forecasting system; and several hundred thousand dollars to plant new trees in and around Salt Lake City—to name only a few of the goodies.
That’s not actually all that unusual for the Olympics — massive public subsidies for the Games are a given — but it’s notable here because the guy in charge of the Salt Lake City Olympics is now running for some public office or something. And is running on a platform of cutting government spending, though not actually government spending on stuff that helps rich people and corporations.
Barlett and Steele note:
When we asked Romney in 2001 how he could justify the record flow of federal dollars to one community to stage the Olympics, he accused us of writing a “ridiculous” article and said, “Do you realize this is just an absurd bogus approach?”
No comment so far today from the Romney camp. He must not read Deadspin — which is a shame, because it means he also missed out on the best explanation of the NHL lockout I’ve seen so far.