Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What happens to Vegas?

Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons is crying foul. President Barack Obama is planning a junket to Caesar's Palace in order to help raise funds for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. But the President also told companies that accept bail-out dollars, "You can't go take a trip to Las Vegas ... on the taxpayer's dime."

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reports that more than 400 conventions and business meetings scheduled to take place in its city have recently been cancelled, meaning the loss of 111,800 guests and 250,000 "room-nights", according to a statement from Gov. Gibbons. The cancelled events cost the Las Vegas economy more than $100 million, not including gaming revenue, the Republican governor said.

"I am disappointed at the hypocrisy shown by this administration," Gov. Gibbons said. "President Obama is coming to Las Vegas later this month for a political fundraiser, but he will not help the struggling families in Las Vegas and Nevada who are out of work because of his reckless comments."

But as painful as this is for me to admit, President Obama has a point. Hard-working taxpayers shouldn't have to foot the bill for failing companies' luxury get-aways. As I've written earlier, bail-outs should hurt. Corporations that are so unscrupulous as to survive via plunder should suffer, and they should provide a warning example to any other companies thinking of committing the same moral outrage.

But Gov. Gibbons has a point too. Discouraging business travel means destroying opportunities for hard-working people in the travel and related industries. President Obama and his liberal water boys and girls in Congress just squandered billions of tax dollars on his "stimulus" gimmick. Does President Obama really believe that only government can stimulate the economy? That there's no value in companies providing business for other companies? If failing companies are to be propped up on the backs of taxpayers on the claim that they're vital to our economy, why are they then discouraged from fully participating in the economy?

This is just one example with what's wrong when government meddles in the market economy: Government then seeks to control microl-level business decisions, and both taxpayers' money and businesses' opportunities go to waste.


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