Posts Tagged ‘Las Vegas’
October 21st, 2013 at 10:28 am
Federal Employees Run Up High Tab During Vegas Jaunt

A Denver news station uncovered that six Colorado-based employees from the Office of Natural Resources Revenue spent more than $13,000 in Las Vegas “to attend a fraud investigators conference in June even though a similar conference offered by the Colorado fraud investigator’s chapter was planned for Denver.”

The federal employees claimed they stuck taxpayers with the bill for their pricey Las Vegas getaway because they needed continuing education credits offered at the event. However, NBC affiliate 9News found that the continuing education credits could have been attained at the Colorado conference for a small fraction of the cost of the Vegas vacation.

But what fun is staying in Colorado when you can force taxpayers to send you to Vegas?

The cost to taxpayers skyrocketed because many of the attendees waited until the last minute to book their flights and insisted on staying in Vegas an extra day to vacation after the conference ended – all using tax dollars.

February 3rd, 2010 at 12:26 pm
White House Mea Culpas, Part I

It must have been Groundhog Day yesterday, because another major Democratic politician was accused of severely damaging the profitability of an American industry. This time it was President Barack Obama, who said at a New Hampshire town hall meeting:

“When times are tough, you tighten your belts,” the president said. “You don’t go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don’t blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you’re trying to save for college.”

Not much to quibble with there – unless you happen to live and work in Las Vegas. The president’s sensible remarks (which would be totally un-remarkable if not said by a major politician) didn’t sit well with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which claimed that a previous critical statement about corporations using bailout money for Vegas junkets cost the city millions in cancelled trips.

Even if that’s true, though, is the president wrong? Trips to Vegas – or Disney World, a Red Sox game, or an evening at the movies – are luxuries that (should) depend on disposable income. If you can’t pay your mortgage, or in the case of bailed out companies, your debts, you shouldn’t be jetting off to expensive locales at taxpayer expense. The same holds true for a family on a budget.  Isn’t this the paradigmatic “kitchen table conversation”?

Nonetheless, Nevada’s senators responded with bipartisan denunciation, and extracted a written apology from the president. One hopes it was delivered in the form of an IOU.

Ironically, the president’s truth telling about where Sin City fits on the priority list did a lot less verifiable damage than Senator Harry Reid’s cryptic comments about a “major American insurer” “whose name is familiar to everyone” last October. After pairing those talismanic phrases with a statement that the mystery company was about to go bankrupt, MetLife, The Hartford, and Prudential all lost between 11 and 32% of their stock value within a day. Other than backtracking a bit, Senator Reid apparently didn’t feel the need to write a public apology to these companies. Maybe they’d prefer he save the stationary and pass some regulatory relief instead.

The president is wrong about a lot of issues, but using Vegas as an example of how not to spend your nest egg isn’t one of them. America isn’t going to get its savings rate and overall economy back on track by spending more money at casinos. Then again, his insightful criticism not to spend gobs of credit card money on fleeting emotional experiences probably won’t migrate into the president’s thinking on how best to structure his deficit-exploding progressive agenda.