Obama’s loose lips hurt many

Published 11:59 pm Friday, February 13, 2009

I have a new hero, and his name is Oscar Goodman. He’s the Democratic mayor of Las Vegas, a city that has been singled out as a symbol of Wall Street greed by President Barack Obama.

Monday, at a town hall meeting in Elkhart, Ind., Obama made the following remark: “You can’t get corporate jets; you can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayer’s dime.”

Goodman quickly fired off a retort to the press.

“What’s a better place, as I say, than for them to come here,” Goodman said. “And to change their mind and to go someplace else and to cancel — and at the suggestion of the president of the United States — that’s outrageous.”

Goodman is absolutely right. His city’s economy is based greatly on not only tourism, but also the money brought in from major corporate conventions.

According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the city hosted 22,000 business conventions and meetings that brought in more than $8.6 billion to the city’s economy in 2008. Any decrease in that incoming cash flow will have devastating effects to the local economy, and it won’t be the casino magnates who will suffer the most. It will be the card dealers, the cocktail waitresses and the hotel stewards who will lose their jobs.

Despite what Obama may be trying to imply with the statement “take a trip to Las Vegas,” these are not recreational junkets. These are important conventions — a necessity for any company that wants to be successful in a capitalistic economy. They have to hold these conventions somewhere, so why single out Las Vegas exclusively? Goodman has a right to be mad at Obama’s loose lips.

I am equally proud of Cessna, a manufacturer of corporate jets, for fighting back against Obama’s rhetoric. In its “Rise” campaign, the company features the following statement in its ad: “Timidity didn’t get you this far. Why put it in your business plan now?”

There is a reason that companies use corporate jets — they save time, money and headaches by avoiding commercial flights. Cessna acknowledges this in its ad: “In tempestuous times, leaders recognize it’s not about ego. It’s simply about availing yourself the full range of tools to do your job.”

Also, did Obama stop to think about all the “little people” involved in the corporate jet industry? Someone has to build these jets; someone has to fly them; someone has to clean them; someone has to fuel them. These are all American jobs that would be lost if companies like Cessna were to struggle.

The Wall Street “fat cats” will do fine even if they are stigmatized into getting rid of Vegas trips and jets. The ones who will be hurt are the working Americans in those industries.