- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
EDITORIAL: Brazil paying dearly for soccer honors
Brasilia gets a tutorial in the economics of the World Cup
Question of the Day
Soccer doesn’t get much attention in America. There’s no room for it. It’s a very big deal for the rest of the world, and this week Brazil is host to the World Cup. For the privilege of hosting the most-watched sporting event on the planet (the World Series and the Super Bowl is enough for the planet called America), Brazil is paying dearly.
This wasn’t supposed to be so. When Brazil won the tournament rights seven years ago, the government officials pledged that building and upgrading the 12 stadiums needed would only cost $1 billion, entirely covered by private money. By the time the venues were actually finished, the price had ballooned to $15 billion. Paid by the taxpayers, naturally.
Brasilia’s 71,000-seat stadium, for example, is now the second-most expensive stadium in the world, thanks to cost “overruns” abetted by politicians looking the other way when the bills were submitted. Brasilia has no professional team of its own, so the stadium won’t be of much use after the World Cup concludes in July.
Brazilians are paying higher subway and bus fares to subsidize construction costs, and the sting is felt particularly by the poor, and there are a lot of them. A plan to increase taxes on beer and soda pop has been delayed until after the World Cup. The powers that be realized that visitors might buy fewer bottles of beer and pop during the games.
Brazil loves soccer, but a Pew Research poll found that 6 in 10 Brazilians aren’t so infatuated with the idea of hosting the World Cup. Protesters have taken to the street to scream their opposition to the spending and tax increases for both the World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Though its economy is growing, Brazil remains a poor nation, and the soccer extravaganza illustrates the nation’s struggle with economic corruption. A famous Brazilian street artist sums it up with an image that has gone viral on the Internet. It shows a hungry child sitting with silverware in hand, waiting for dinner, who begins to cry when the dinner plate arrives bearing only a soccer ball.
Expensive international sporting events promise big economic gains, but these are rarely more than a spike in visitor numbers. The brief revenue boost usually isn’t enough to pay for the extra security, infrastructure and construction. The promised long-term gain is an illusion.
That’s the lesson America should draw as the World Cup ramps up in the weeks ahead. Despite the fondest dreams of the U.S. Soccer Federation that bringing the 2026 World Cup to America will spark the nation’s interest in the international game, it’s an expensive luxury most Americans don’t want.
About the Author
- Take a first look at The Washington Times' new dynamic website
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: West shouldn't pander to Putin
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: 'Redskins' hardly the only offender
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Radar, torpedos to end Hamas tunnels?
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Gaza 'analysis' poorly veiled bigotry
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
Get Breaking Alerts
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for
- House backs faster deportations, cancels 'Dreamer' policy