What Does the President Have Against Sin City?
Barack Obama has been forced to apologize for trashing Las Vegas twice. What is it about that mecca of hedonism that brings out the preacherman in him?
February 4, 2010 - 12:00 am
This, of course, has little to do with what the federal government does with its money (which so far, especially under Obama, and despite his remarks about priorities and tough choices, is to spend and gamble away our children’s future), or what personal extravagance the Obamas have shown in the White House (quite a bit). Frugality is for the little people, the ones who fail to do simple things like keeping their tires properly inflated and using those vile energy-saving bulbs.
You know, those bitter clingers and the rednecks who are so stupid as to blow money in places like Vegas when they need it for bigger and better things. The folks who might even value their personal freedom to do whatever they choose to — including gamble, if they happen to feel like it — without sourpuss preacherman Obama spoiling their fun. Las Vegas seems to be a symbol to Obama, a sort of secular Sodom and Gomorrah rolled into one, and he just can’t resist using it as an example of what not to do and where not to go.
But there’s an even deeper problem behind what Obama is saying here: his ignorance of the way economics actually works, or even the way Vegas works. It might indeed be a much better choice for an individual who is struggling to pay college tuition to stay away from Vegas, and especially from gambling. Or he/she might actually be taking advantage of some of the amazing deals there. The last time I looked (and granted, that was a long time ago; I must confess right here and now that Vegas is not my idea of a fun vacation), there were reductions on hotels and food in order to pull in the gamblers. But if you could resist the lure of the tables and the slot machines you could have a pretty nifty and even economical stay.
But the more important point is that the economy of Las Vegas and Nevada depend to a large extent on tourism, and to discourage that activity it is to economically depress the state further. And anything that depresses one state depresses the country as a whole.
Obama’s remarks could also be construed as discouraging vacationing and tourism in general. There are more states than Nevada that depend heavily on that sort of thing — Vermont, for one, and perhaps even his home state of Hawaii, a rather expensive place to visit.
No city (or state) is an island entire of itself, even if it happens to consist of islands, like Hawaii. Each state is part of our economy, which is a complex and interrelated system. If President Obama doesn’t know that already, he ought to start learning very fast.