THE BLOG

Blame it on Rio; Don't Blame it on Obama

12/02/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I want my conservative and libertarian friends to put aside their dislike (and hatred) of President Obama for at least a minute or two. Forget momentarily the monumental waste of fuel, manpower and dollars sending First Lady Michelle Obama on a State Department 757 airplane only to have the President follow behind in Air Force One. Forget that duplicate 747 and numerous cargo planes carrying the motorcade and communications that travel with the President. Dismiss momentarily your argument that President Obama is President of the United States, not Mayor.

Instead, ask why Rio de Janeiro won the bid for the 2016 Olympics. Brazil is a gorgeous country and Rio is a wonderful city. Rio will be the first in South America to host an Olympic event. Brazil can afford to incur the costs of hosting the Olympics.

Brazil was among the last to enter into the current world recession, but is among the first to begin to emerge from the recession.

And therein is why Chicago did not get the Olympics.

We should not celebrate this defeat of Obama. Instead we should look at the reasons we failed to win the bid.

The United States simply cannot afford the Olympics. While today's unemployment figures did not play into the IOC's decision (they had already eliminated Chicago) nonetheless our current economic crisis certainly did. Unemployment today hit 9.8%, the worst since 1983. More than 260,000 Americans lost jobs last month.

When you add those unemployed Americans who have settled for part-time work or given up looking for new jobs, the U.S. unemployment rate soars to 17%. More than 15 million Americans are out of work.

The U.S. budget deficit is expected to exceed $9 trillion over the next ten years.

What are we doing in response to this crisis? The Congress is trying to exercise more control over health care. They're looking at a cap-and-trade (cap-and-tax) program at a time when doubts are beginning to be expressed about climate change. We're playing class warfare and trying to tax the rich, tax corporations, tax small business, tax, tax, tax.

Compare our approach of taxing ourselves out of the recession to Brazil's approach of cutting taxes. The OECD recently applauded Brazil for granting "tax breaks to certain key industries to help boost spending and revive growth in the economy."

Jose Mauricio Machado of Machado Associados commented on the report, saying:

"The temporary reduction of industrialized products tax levied on motor vehicles, consumer durables and constructions items were specific and efficient to stimulate important sectors of the Brazilian economy that had suffered from a strong decrease in sales due to the crisis."

So tax cuts in Brazil have started them moving out of the recession while we're still facing massive unemployment and more tax increases.

While we're at it, let's remember that most of Western Europe also recognizes the value of cutting tax burdens to stimulate the economy. Just witness the recent reelection of Merkel in Germany.

Add to this economic crisis the recent adverse publicity of gang killings in Chicago, it is no wonder the IOC opted for the novel location of Brazil. So let's not get mad at Obama for this failure. Instead, let's hope he realizes the path he's headed down is doomed to fail, too.

Let's learn from Brazil.