By: Kendall Shanks
Sixty-three percent of Brazilians believe the Rio Olympic Games will cause more harm than good to Brazil’s shrinking economy, according to a recent poll conducted by the Chicago Tribune News Service Team. Brazil has consistently cut public services in order to reapportion money, a grave injustice that far outweighs the spotlight brought by the Olympics.
The Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro spent nearly $4.6 billion in preparation for the 2016 Summer Olympics after the acting governor Francisco Dornelles declared a state of economic emergency in June, according to “International Business Times”. Oil prices have plummeted in the wake of the corruption unfolding at Petrobras, Rio de Janeiro’s state-controlled oil company, subsequently causing the Brazilian economy to shrink by four percent. Brazil is facing their worst recession since the 1930s.
Rio de Janeiro’s state security budget was cut by 30 percent after the declaration of a financial emergency and the suspension of Rio de Janeiro’s President Dilma Rousseff. The state asked for federal assistance to implement security measures after attacks in Paris, Nice and the United States. These measures have been paid for by a government assistance package of $860 million. The United States has sent over 1,000 Special Operations Commands to strengthen the Brazilian troops surrounding the Games.
According to economics teacher Ryan Vowell, the Olympic Games “rarely generate more money than the countries that host them spend, but Rio…had to use [their] emergency funding to follow through.” This emergency money was misappropriated. Federal emergency funds were meant to reinstate government programs and contracts. Vowell believes unrest among Brazilians may result in a coup.
With 4.9 percent of Brazilians making at or below R$1.90 per day, many people argue that Brazil should invest money in government assistance programs to combat poverty. If a Brazilian were to hypothetically work every day of the year, earning R$1.90 per day, they would make R$693.50 per year. The average cost of living in Brazil is R$2545.00 a year. With this growing gap of equity, Brazilians and Americans alike argue that the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics will cause the state’s collapsing economy to plummet further.