Ever since the catastrophic delusion of Budapest 2024 was cancelled, the government and cronies have been weeping crocodile tears for it. But no one is moved so deeply by triple jump and javelin throw. Those tears were shed for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to steal a country blind and leave for the Bahamas.
But fear not. They found another way to recoup some of their “losses”. The 2017 World Aquatics Championship (WAC), hosted by Budapest. Now that Olympic spending is out of their reach… I’m just kidding. Olympic spending hasn’t stopped either.
The eye-popping overpricing of the WAC proves that sports events are never on budget. Especially not when there is virtually no control over how much they dare to invoice – not even their own shame. Not only does the WAC cost 4-5 times its estimated cost, but emergency price increases have picked up speed weeks before the opening.
Those two weeks in July had already cost the country over a billion euros – and counting. In fact, the spending just geared up because the cronies specialized to getting rich on the Olympics now refocus their efforts to the WAC. By January this year, the budget of the WAC has been overshot by 400%. But that was just the beginning. Then came last minute spending that is believed to fly under the radar.
But it wasn’t all. After the Olympics was cancelled last month, overspending on the WAC became even more spectacular. Imagine their dire straits:
All that money that could have been siphoned off throughout the next 7 years with the excuse of the Olympics must now be stolen in a few weeks.
There is not a day, not a single day, that the media don’t report on yet another diving stand costing a million euros more than planned, another batch of business cards being ordered from a nephew for a hundred thousand euros, or another obnoxiously brazen way of stealing out public money. Just a few from last week’s crop:
- In a quantum leap of ambition they expect 6 billion viewers to watch the opening ceremony. Of a swimming contest. (Good thing they didn’t accidentally lie 8 billion viewers because that would have triggered some rumors about the Hungarian government confirming the existence of aliens.)
- When they were told it’s the world’s population, they upped the stakes. They now want the world’s most expensive band, the Rolling Stones, to play at the ceremony. No public money is too expensive to waste.
- But the stealing started much earlier. In a farcical series of design failures, various nephews and nieces tried to put together a low-budget/high cost mascot for the WAC. Such as this…
They’ve already spent twice as much on two weeks of swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, and water polo that they spend on higher education in a year. Or half the healthcare budget in a healthcare system that kills people. And since both are furiously centralized and nationalized, the comparison is adept.
But at least they designed another look for the event – once again, by a relative.
But if you think Olympic spending has stopped just because the bid was withdrawn – you must be naive.
The pointlessness of spending is nothing new to these talented recipients of public money. A bridge over a flat area, a 50 cm tall panorama tower, or a withdrawn Olympic bid are equally good excuses for state largesse.
But I sympathize with them… It must be harsh.
Imagine you’re one of those people close to Orbán, and simply can’t stop winning public tenders for a living. Most often as the only bidder. You have probably also convinced yourself that spending public money
on yourself on the Olympics is national greatness. And if it weren’t, it’s still OK because there is no public resistance to it.* Now imagine, you had all your engines running and your freshly started companies ready to receive all that goodness.
Now you see how heart-warming the prospect of uncontrolled public spending between 2017 and 2024 must have been for these talented people. In fact, the company founded to siphon off public money for the Olympic bid is still alive and well. Not only are earlier contracts paid and executed – there are new funds being decided on and spent every day. A few million euros are already documented to have been spent since the cancellation of the bid.
To say that the Hungarian political elite has grown to the challenge to overcome adversities is an understatement.
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* They even commissioned a number of surveys that found that people are overwhelmingly for the Olympics. Until people found out that others are against it, too – and then they weren’t.