Sin City comes under fire from President
Speaking to a group in Nashua, N.H. on Tuesday, President Barack Obama made a statement that has come under heavy fire from members of his own political party.
“You don’t blow a bunch of cash in Vegas when you’re trying to save for college,” Obama said.
At first glance, it might not seem as though there’s anything wrong with that statement.
After all, it makes sense. During this recession, there’s no reason for anyone to unnecessarily spend money instead of saving it.
But to residents of Nevada, the comment was yet another strike against a president who has done little to help a state crippled by the recession.
According to U.S. Census Bureau data, more than 1.8 million of Nevada’s estimated 2.6 million residents live in Clark County, which encompasses Las Vegas and its suburbs.
Tourism is by far Nevada’s largest industry. But fewer people are vacationing in Las Vegas (the state’s most prominent city), and the tourists who do go are spending less money.
In December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Nevada’s unemployment rate stood at 12.8 percent — the second highest in the country, trailing only Michigan.
Nevada also leads the country in foreclosure rates, according to RealtyTrac.com.
These days, signs that say “for sale” are easier to find in Las Vegas than ones made out of neon.
There is no reason for the president to kick an entire city while it is already down. Just because Las Vegas is nicknamed “Sin City” does not mean it should be America’s scapegoat.
While it is true that people should refrain from spending their money unwisely, Obama’s decision to single out Las Vegas was uncalled for.
As a politician, the president is well aware of the power of words; he could have chosen better ones.
This was not the first time Obama used Las Vegas as a cautionary example, having previously made comments that drew the ire of residents of the Silver State.
“You can’t take a trip to Las Vegas or down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers’ dime,” Obama said last February in regards to bankers who had used federal bailout money for vacations.
According to an article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, that statement scared at least one large company out of holding a conference in the city.
Instead of holding an event in Las Vegas, Goldman Sachs sent its employees to San Francisco — a more expensive destination — in hopes of avoiding the perception of wasting money.
Obama’s statement clearly failed to stop corporations from wasting taxpayers’ money.
If the president had said, “You don’t blow a bunch of cash on a new car from Detroit when you’re trying to save for college,” the reaction would have been much different.
In fact, had Obama pointed a judgmental finger at any other American city, the entire country would have been outraged.
But since Las Vegas is Las Vegas, the politically incorrect gambling capital of the world, it’s apparently OK for the president to threaten its economy and the livelihoods of its people.
Casey Goodwin is an engineering freshman and may be reached at [email protected]