Speak no Evil

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It’s always a little funny when people get all bent out of shape over the obvious. Take the President of the United States.

This week, during a public address, he apparently offended the mother lode of Las Vegas for the second time in the space of a year. He told the citizenry of New Hampshire that if they were trying to save a few bucks for college tuition it might not be the best time to blow the money in Las Vegas. Seems a little self-evident, no?

Las Vegans are beyond miffed. They are completely over the Rainbow of Verklempt. It’s enough to make Tony Spilotro jump up out of the cornfield. The mayor of that fair city in the sun says Barack Obama is no friend to Las Vegas and must have some kind of “vendetta” against the place. In some ways I can see his point. Why use Las Vegas as a metaphor for bacchanalian spending? Why not reference Reno? Why not summon the spectre of Atlantic City?

Vegas, of course, gets targeted by the speechwriters because it simply is the metaphor for unbridled greed. It always has been. When times are flush that age-old branding works like a hot-damn. People equate Las Vegas with good times and part of a good time is the lure of easy money. When times are bad, however..and Las Vegas has been pretty much crushed in this recession…you don’t, apparently, want the President using your municipal moniker in a lesson on common sense economics.

The problem is that you can’t have it both ways.

I like Las Vegas. I’m not down there every month but when I do go I cover myself with a thin veil of frugality. You’d never catch me blowing thousands at a craps table..even if I had the money. The fact that I don’t bet big means I will never win big. I’m okay with that. I like to treat myself to a meal in a signature restaurant and Angie likes to see Cher. That way we both come home happy. That way, at least, we both come home together.

But that’s not the case for many people who lose control amid the heady mix of cigarette smoke and fountain spray. They will blow the college fund…and the milk money too…if someone doesn’t give ’em a well-meaning slap upside the face. I can’t think of a place that benefits more from the loss of basic human control than Las Vegas. There’s no investment counsellors handing out business cards in those casinos.

Las Vegas’ cliched credo is that what happens there stays there. Except debt. Debt will follow your sorry ass to the ends of the earth. The President has been forced to back-pedal a bit. He loves Las Vegas. Of course, he does!  In the end he was simply putting two and two together for the people who tend to leave their abacus at home.

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3 Responses to “Speak no Evil”

  1. Sometimes common sense has to be explained to people because common sense isn’t all that common any more…..

  2. Say Dave, With all the current concerns about security I was wondering if you had any thoughts on what security really means?

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