Mitt Loves Government Largess, Except When He Doesn’t

Mother Jones reports on Romney’s shameless tax-payer grab for the Salt Lake Olympics, while condemning just such behavior.

As Romney chastises the president for pointing out that successful business ventures benefit from a larger social compact and accuses critics of pining for “free stuff,” Romney is simultaneously touting an Olympic effort that, more than any other in American history, succeeded thanks to public investment—some of it sunk into questionable projects of marginal value to the Salt Lake games. “The $1.5 billion in taxpayer dollars that Congress is pouring into Utah is 1.5 times the amount spent by lawmakers to support all seven Olympic Games held in the U.S. since 1904—combined,” Donald Barlett and James Steele reported for Sports Illustrated in 2001. Those numbers were adjusted for inflation.

How the Salt Lake Games came to receive more money than any games in American history isn’t much of a mystery. The organizers, including Romney, asked for it. In his 2004 book, Turnaround, Romney acknowledges the central role of the federal government in making the Olympics possible. “No matter how well we did cutting costs and raising revenue, we couldn’t have Games without the support of the federal government,” he wrote

In 2000, with the opening ceremonies still more than a year away, Arizona Sen. John McCain called the Salt Lake price tag “a disgrace,”  and partnered with Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) to demand a Government Accountability Office investigation into how the games could cost so much. Romney’s response was muted…

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