Commentary Magazine


Contentions

There’s Gambling and There’s Gambling

President Obama may still be a hit somewhere, but not in Las Vegas:

Oscar Goodman, the colorful mayor of Las Vegas, is outraged over comments President Obama made about his city, and has demanded that the president pay him an apology.

At issue are remarks about corporate responsibility Obama made at a town hall Monday in Elkhart, Ind., when responding to a question from an audience member.

“We’re going to do something to strengthen the banking system,” Mr. Obama said, “You are not going to be able to give out these big bonuses until you pay taxpayers back. You can’t get corporate jets. You can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers’ dime. There’s got to be some accountability and some responsibility.”

Goodman responded today with outrage at Obama’s singling out his city in a negative light, dissuading — in his view — travel to Sin City.

“That’s outrageous,” Goodman, a Democrat, said to KLAS-TV today. “

Mayor Goodman may have a thing for grandstanding, but this much is true: Dropping some cash at the tables and in the nightclubs will do a lot more to stimulate the economy than having the government burn $300 million on a fleet of green golf carts. What’s spent in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas; you can’t say the same for Capitol Hill.

When an evil Wall Steet Greedster drops a chunk of his bonus at the tables and in the nightclubs, a smaller chunk of that atomizes outward in chains that feed national industries. If he buys a steak, the restaurateur gets paid, which means the restaurateur can keep his new busboy, who can pay his babysitter, who can then buy the shoes she’s been eyeing, and so on. The Wall Street Greedster can accomplish all this, amazingly, without consulting Congress about where to spend what.

But when Nancy Pelosi drops over a quarter of a billion dollars on “neighborhood electric vehicles,” and “neither Capitol Hill aides nor the Energy Department was able to say specifically what the carts would be used for,” she’s actively feeding a dead animal. The stimulus money would be better off spent on the Strip. Not only would it be more stimulative, but you’d get better odds on turning a profit.