Here we go again — time to crank up the outrage machine.
For the second time in less than a year, President Barack Obama made an offhand swipe at Las Vegas.
Last time, he said there should be no Vegas junkets for banks that had received government bailout money.
That was bad enough. But Tuesday, at a New Hampshire town hall, he added insult to injury, implying that Las Vegas is a place of profligacy.
“When times are tough, you tighten your belts,” he said.
“You don’t go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage,” a lesson lost on untold Las Vegans last decade. “You don’t blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you’re trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices. And it’s time your government did the same.”
And yes, a number of our pols do want to burn him at the stake for this...
“I just spoke to the White House and told them that while the president is correct that people saving for college need to be fiscally responsible, the president needs to lay off Las Vegas and stop making it the poster child for where people shouldn’t be spending their money.
“Nevada is the nation’s top destination for tourism and conventions. It is more popular than any other place in the country, and for good reason: it’s affordable, easy to get to from anywhere and the weather is perfect.
“To truly reenergize our economy, we need people to travel to Las Vegas. I would much rather tourists and business travelers spend their money in Las Vegas than spend it overseas.”
“It is unbelievable that President Obama again singled out Las Vegas for ridicule when the fact is that our city is one of the premier destinations for work or pleasure. This pattern of bashing Las Vegas to make a point must stop.
“Hundreds of thousands of hard-working Las Vegas men and woman make a living in the travel and tourism sector, and the president’s comment disparaging travel to Las Vegas is a blow to all of them. From affordable accommodations to world-class entertainment, Las Vegas is a top travel and convention destination for a reason.
“I hope that when President Obama visits later this month, he will see what a wonderful city Las Vegas is and will encourage people from around the world to visit.”
And my personal favorite, Shelley Berkley... She REALLY let it rip yesterday!
“Enough is enough! President Obama needs to stop picking on Las Vegas and he needs to let Americans decide for themselves how and where to spend their hard-earned vacation dollars. This is the second time he’s pointed a finger in our direction and both times he’s been wrong to single out Las Vegas. Whether it’s a weekend trip to Vegas or a family visit to grandma’s house, tourism means jobs and a boost for local economies in Nevada and nationwide. What he should have said is that Las Vegas is a bargain and everyone from around the globe should come and see it for themselves,” said Berkley. “I have called the White House to lodge a complaint and I am in the process of writing the president to explain the negative impact of his words on the businesses and families that call Las Vegas home.”
So what should we really think about all of this? Well, I'll let Steve Sebelius chime in himself.
Please, people, get over it. You live in Las Vegas, a city that markets itself as the epicenter of sin, excess and debauchery. It is a really bad idea to blow the college savings on gambling, especially in a recession, because you’re going to need that money to go back to school so you can get a third job in order to pay off all the credit card debt you’ve been running up buying mac-and-cheese to survive the downtown. Can we all get back to work now?
OK, so President Obama is a little tone deaf. Next time, he needs to think before saying something else about Las Vegas that will have Oscar Goodman coming at him (yet again) with a semi-automatic rifle.
Otherwise, this may just be our own damned fault. Think about it. We market ourselves as "Sin City", "What happens here, stays here" (like tourists' money), and "THE place for irrational, reckless, uninhibited FUN!" Over the years, we've attracted tourists who weren't really spending their own money, but were rather mortgaging away their kids' future (literally!) on spending recklessly.
And of course, it hasn't helped that we built our state's future on these shifting sands. Once the credit lines dried up and people started losing their jobs, everything turned...
But we still haven't learned our lesson? We can't base our economy on unsustainable debt loads, discretionary spending, and "growth" that may or may not really happen?
No, it's all just Obama's fault! Time to let him have it for telling Americans to behave more responsibly! (/snark)