The Corner

Gold Medal in Bad Public Financial Decisionmaking

I’ve enjoyed watching the Olympics this week. I’m also delighted not to be stuck with the bill:

As for Vancouver’s municipal government and the taxpayers, the bad news is already in. The immediate Olympic legacy for this city of 580,000 people is a nearly $1 billion debt from bailing out the Olympic Village development. Beyond that, people in Vancouver and British Columbia have already seen cuts in services like education, health care and arts financing from their provincial government, which is stuck with many other Olympics-related costs.

Obama’s failure to secure the 2016 summer games is one of the best things that’s happened to Chicago lately.

UPDATE: A couple of readers have made this point:

The NYT is not always right. The City of Vancouver did cover the $1B debt of the athlete’s village. But the facility itself is security for the debt, hundreds of units of luxury waterfront. Units will be sold right after the games. There may be a shortfall, but there may also be a profit.

Fair enough. I’m still betting that Vancouver suffers a big loss–and I’m not talking about that hockey game the other night.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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