Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi (Getty)

You want to see some shit? Here’s some shit, courtesy of the International Olympic Committee:

Here we have a neat bit of propaganda, complete with the soft-voiced narration and simplified infographics that are so vital to the form, which endeavors to explain why hosting the Olympics is definitely not a financially ruinous decision for most cities on the planet. Be sure to stick around for the exultation of trickle-down economics.

Nobody who has read a single article about the economics of the Olympics needs it explained to them that the IOC is not a trustworthy source of information on the topic, just as nobody who has taken a ninth-grade econ class needs it explained to them that anyone trying to tout the virtues of trickle-down economics in 2018 should probably be arrested. But, fine, let’s take this video at its word, which is that things are different now, and that the IOC has gotten smarter about the planning and organizing of the games in ways that will keep cities out of the red. If that’s the case, then surely Tokyo, the host of the 2020 Olympics and a large modern city with plenty of existing infrastructure, can act as a proof of concept. Let’s check in on that:

A report just released by the national government’s Board of Audit shows Japan is likely to spend $25 billion to prepare the games, and the final number could go even higher.

This is nearly a four-fold increase over Tokyo’s winning bid in 2013, which the report said projected costs of 829 billion yen, or $7.3 billion at the current exchange rate of 113 yen to the dollar.

Advertisement

But the nice lady in the video up there said this wasn’t supposed to happen! How do we explain this?

Spokesman Masa Takaya said expenditures listed such as “inbound tourism, road constructions, subsidy for creating a hydrogen society, and even improving accuracy of weather forecasts with better satellites,” should not be considered Olympic expenses.

The audit report also faulted Tokyo organizers for excluding other expenses from the budget. The report said these came to about 650 billion yen ($5.6 billion) and included things like: repairs to existing buildings; security costs; the cost of running doping facilities.

It said the organizing committee’s December budget did “not reflect all the costs related to the operation of the event.”

Advertisement

Ah, so you see, the nice lady was telling the truth. The Olympics won’t cost a dime to host as long as you deny that the majority of the necessary expenditures are related to the Olympics. The numbers simply do not lie.

h/t Aaron