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The [Friday] Papers

By Steve Rhodes

* "It's fair to say that the bulk of the serious studies on the costs and benefits of the Olympics suggest that, in terms of direct benefits, they are unambiguous money losers," says Mark Spiegel, vice president for economic research at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

* "There has never been an Olympic Games that has made a profit," says Robert Barney, director of the International Centre for Olympic Studies at the University of Western Ontario.

* "No reasonable person thinks that the direct benefits of hosting the Olympic Games or any other mega event cover the costs," concludes Andrew Rose, an economist at the Haas School of Business at the University of California in Berkeley.

But John Williams on WGN-AM yesterday wanted to know why anyone should listen to me, just some guy with a website.

Because I'm just making this stuff up out of thin air?

You get paid the big bucks, John. Do your homework.

*

And that goes for the bulk of the local media. Maybe take some extension classes to bone up on how to do your job.

*

Eric Zorn comes out in favor of the Chicago bid today because, well, it's like raising children: a bad investment but so full of love!

A horrid analogy. Let's try this one: What if all available data showed that raising your child in a certain way - let's say, allowing the kid to drink beer at breakfast - has always produced a criminal in the past. Would you raise your child that way anyway because Pat Ryan paid Hill & Knowlton millions of dollars to convince you that this time you could get it right?

*

Welcome to Alice in Daleyland.

*

"Yet, [economic impact studies produced by bid committees] are cheerful documents," Anne Elizabeth Moore writes. "Chicago's, for example, comes with the Chicago 2016 logo right on it, and opens with a downright ridiculous overview of the wonders of the Athens, Sydney and Atlanta Games before claiming to be an independent report. (All of these were, by most economists' accounts, sheer disasters.) Who, I ask University of Chicago sports economist Allen Sanderson, created this report?

"'If you make a list of the hundred people that you should go to to get an impact study done, these guys would not have made my list,' he says. 'They wouldn't have made anybody's list . . . I have been puzzled as to why a reasonably high quality group such as Chicago 2016 would turn so far away from the mainstream to get this report.

"'In my guilty-until-proven innocent approach,' he suggests, 'it was because these are the only two guys who are willing to say this'."

*

"But, Sanderson explains, [the facts] rarely affect the public perception of the bid. When economists start questioning the numbers in economic impact statements, bid committees 'come back and say, Well it's not about money, it's about community investment.'

"So, it's all about the numbers - until it isn't anymore."

Then it's about loving your children.

*

If there was ever a day to take out the trash, today is it.

*

I've adjusted the odds of Chicago getting the Games upward again today. But maybe in second- or third-round voting the others will band against us.

*

You're either for the Billy Decs of the world or against them.

*

The Bears prepare for the Olympics, Beachwood-style.

*

I'll have something about the decision on NBCChicago.com once it's made.

*

"City's failed [1952] try for the Summer Olympics included a Tribune reporter delivering the final pitch in Stockholm."

So nothing much has changed.

*

How dare bloggers not adhere to the standards professional journalists have maintained for decades!

*

Rupert Murdoch: "In spite of all the propaganda and everything - I don't want to call anybody a liar - but no one's ever made any money out of them."

*

"[Jarrett] said a recent Tribune/WGN poll, showing only 47 percent of Chicago residents supported Mayor Richard Daley's Olympic plans, was outdated in the wake of a 49-0 vote by the City Council to sign the host-city contract for the Games."

Yes. Now only 27 percent support the bid.

*

"Jarrett just told the online magazine Around the Rings that Chicago could deliver games on time, on budget and free of corruption. She said in the interview that she was 'very confident' that would happen because the right checks and balances would be in place."

Just one more question, Valerie Jessup. If Richard M. Daley is an honest man and his rule of the city is tighter than Pat Ryan's sphincter, why would you need the right checks and balances in place to make sure the games are delivered on time, on budget and free of corruption?

-

A Chicago Thing

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Outrageous.



Permalink

Posted on October 2, 2009


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