Stop wasting your money in Vegas, says Obama
posted at 7:02 pm on February 2, 2010 by Cassy Fiano
Because Obama is the president — and a Democrat — this means he gets to tell us how to spend our money. Or this is how he feels, apparently. He’s now lecturing business owners about being irresponsible, and calling out Las Vegas in the process.
Mayor Oscar Goodman said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon that he was “hotter than fish grease” when he heard President Barack Obama recently contend that corporations using federal bailout money should stop visiting Las Vegas.
… Goodman backtracked on his demand that Obama apologize for his remarks, but said that he still needed to “straighten out the record.”
At a town hall meeting Monday in Elkhart, Ind., to gain support for the stimulus bill, Obama said that “you can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayer’s dime.”
The statement was in line with other remarks the president has made admonishing high-paid executives of failing financial institutions to use the federal bailout money responsibly.
Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs Group, which received $25 billion and $10 billion in taxpayer-funded bailout money respectively, both recently scrapped highly publicized conferences at swank Strip hotels.
In his letter to Obama, an outraged Goodman took offense at what he claimed was the unjustified stereotype that trips to Las Vegas are “junkets.”
“The assumption that all meetings, events, and incentive travel (to Las Vegas) are wasteful is wrong,” Goodman wrote. “Now more than ever, we need businesses to travel and hold meetings and events.”
Rep. Shelley Berkley agreed. “There is no question that as a result of the criticism leveled against business travel to Las Vegas by the President and others,” she said in a written statement, “the community I represent has seen the loss of millions of dollars in revenue, which threatens even more job cuts at a time when we cannot afford the loss of a single visitor.”
Harry Reid must be furious right now — not because of the insult to a city in his home state, but because this is the last thing he needs. This is the second time Obama has taken a shot at Las Vegas.
Besides Harry Reid’s hurt feelings, these remarks were incredibly irresponsible. Whether it is because of the president’s remarks or not, there are plenty of high-profile companies that have pulled out of having their meetings in Las Vegas, such as Wells Fargo, Citibank, and Goldman Sachs. Las Vegas is feeling the effects of the recessions just like the rest of the country, and Obama telling businesses to stop frequenting Vegas is not going to help their economy. Two businessmen explain:
“We’ve had layoffs. We’ve had days off without pay. Reductions in work force,” said Phillip Cooper of Encore Productions. He employs about 200 people in Las Vegas and relies on the meetings to pay his employees. He agrees with the convention authority that these meetings can provide direct stimulus to Las Vegas.
“Meetings last year were worth $244 billion. That is a lot of jobs. That is billions of dollars of tax revenue,” said Rossi Ralenkotter, LVCVA president and CEO.
So Obama’s position is basically that these people, these businessmen, shouldn’t be making money, apparently because of the fact that Las Vegas has a reputation for being a party town. But does that reputation mean that the people that live and work there don’t deserve to earn a living?
On top of all this idiocy, these digs at Las Vegas absolutely reek of hypocrisy. Obama has turned the White House into some kind of night club, hosting weekly parties for celebrities and DC insiders. He jets back and forth to Copenhagen on the taxpayers’ dime. He takes his wife and family out to Broadway shows and and concerts. He uses taxpayer dollars to fly to New York for dinner and a play, for Chrissakes. And other Democrats are no better. Nancy Pelosi is the best example, as she’s apparently been using the Air Force as a personal chaffeur for herself and her family. Not too long ago, the House Appropriations Committee was ordering another round of Gulfstream jets for politicians to use. There was an 11-day trip a group of politicians took to New Zealand “to study climate change”, featuring fireworks, snorkeling, reef dives, and a trip to the South Pole. It ended with a stay in a luxury hotel in Hawaii. The government wastes money in a million different ways, yet Obama wants to lecture us about how to spend money responsibly? This from the man who has quadrupled our deficit in just one year?
Robert Gibbs was the real loser in this one, though. He had to somehow figure out a way to excuse this latest gaffe of Obama’s, saying that Obama really was trying to target banks… or something. The truth is, Obama doesn’t want us to be able to spend our money how we want to spend it. Obama wants to be able to dictate how all of us live, and spending our money on trips to Vegas, whether for business or pleasure, is just not “allowed” anymore.