Do liberals want to address this?

Obama’s Copenhagen trip wasn’t cheap

(AP) – 2 days ago

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s failed bid to bring the 2016 Olympic Games to Chicago cost more than a bruised ego.

Taxpayers shelled out probably $1 million or more for the president, his wife and others to fly to Copenhagen and back to woo members of the International Olympic Committee.

A 2006 congressional study pegged the cost of flying Air Force One at $56,518 an hour. The Pentagon recently said it cost $100,219 an hour to fly the huge, reconfigured Boeing 747 without Obama aboard. The Pentagon estimate included more costs for support needs, such as maintenance.

At those rates, the president’s 14-hour trip to Copenhagen and back cost about $790,000 to $1.4 million.

However, presidential travel requires additional spending, especially for security personnel and equipment. Also, first lady Michelle Obama and some administration officials traveled to Copenhagen at public expense ahead of the president.

The Copenhagen trip was not devoted entirely to the Olympics bid. Obama spent 25 minutes conferring with Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, his top Afghan war commander. McChrystal had been in London for a speech, and he made the relatively short trip to Denmark to meet with Obama.

2 responses to “Do liberals want to address this?

  • roxannadanna

    Good column, well made points. Thank you for posting it here!

  • thescoundrel

    Why the US did not get the Olympics was explained very well by a Quad City Online editorial by Roger Ruthhart:

    Why no Olympics? Illinois broke, corrupt, leaderless

    I can”t seem to get this Chicago Olympics business out of my mind. It”s probably because I was conflicted about it from the start.

    On one hand, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Chicago and Illinois. Having the world”s greatest athletes on our doorstep could have been a terribly exciting thing. Bringing in tens of thousands of tourists would have been a great economic and cultural boon.

    Chicago is a very cosmopolitan city with historical and cultural amenities worth traveling from the other side of the world to see even without the Olympics. There is really no such thing as being a minority in Chicago, so the world would have felt welcome and at home in the Windy City.

    But then there is the dark side. We are talking about Chicago — synonymous with corruption for decades.

    The city is burdened by a financial deficit and constantly begging the state for money to keep its buses and rickety trains running. We have all heard the stories about teen gang murders, drug problems and you probably know someone who has been accosted in one way or another in the city. No one –not even the Chicago insiders — really trusted that political clout and corruption wouldn”t come into play in making decisions and assigning Olympic contracts. Many were probably licking their chops.

    And while there are other troubling issues, none looms larger than the city”s transportation system.

    The highway system is over crowded, inadequate and always under reconstruction. It can”t withstand the demands of the daily rush hour, much less the hundreds if not thousands of vehicles the Olympics would have attracted. Its highways more closely resemble parking lots than fast-moving Interstates. A study by the Texas Transportation Institute ranked Chicago third (behind New York and Los Angeles) in traffic delays with Chicago motorists wasting an average of 46 hours behind the wheel each year.

    The Metra trains are an option from farther out, but if you have ever ridden them on a day when the Cubs are playing, you know that 40,000 people can fill them. How would they serve the hundreds of thousands the Olympics would have brought? The “El” and subway are quaint and unique, but also outdated and borderline unsafe, with trains forced to advance at a crawl in parts of the system.

    Mayor Richard Daley somewhat begrudgingly had agreed the city would assume any debt left by the Olympics. But in the next breath, organizers admitted that upgrading the city”s transportation system to handle the Olympic load would have depended on massive infusions of our tax dollars from the federal government.

    Proposed fare increases announced last week in an effort to close a $180 million transportation budget deficit will make Chicago”s fares among the highest in the country. With that Olympics now gone, who is going to pay the bill to provide much needed system upgrades and keep the trains and buses running?

    Maybe I”ve just lived in this state too long and have grown way too cynical. The local Olympic organizers may have truly believed that the effort could be financed privately. But I”m sure that the mayor and everyone in power from Chicago viewed it as another opportunity to suck the public trough dry.

    There is no doubt in my mind that a plan was in place to fleece downstate taxpayers. The problem is that they left the stopper out of the drain and Govs. Blagojevich, Quinn and friends let all the money run out before the Olympics got a chance to drink from the public trough.

    Why did Chicago lose its bid for the Olympics? It seems pretty simple to me. The International Olympic Committee saw that the city”s coffers were bare. They realized the state is in debt, has borrowed itself near bankruptcy, and is out of politically-acceptable options. And our leading political figures and some private business leaders are inept, arrogant, crooked or just plain corrupt.

    So the battle is over and Chicago lost, so all that is left is to whimper home and lick the wounds, right? Hardly.

    Any astute businessman looking to work with the city or partner with the state on a project is going to see just what the International Olympic Committee saw.

    We are broke, corrupt, lacking leadership and finding more excuses why we can”t do things right than reasons why we should.

    Until we find real leadership willing to fight for the changes that need to be made, instead of the ones that are politically expedient, things will only get worse.

    The Olympic experience was just the tip of the iceberg.

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