Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Casino boss Wynn: Business won't invest til Obama leaves

"It's Obama that's responsible for this fear... Everybody's afraid of... the weird political philosophy of the President"

Casino boss Wynn: Business won't invest til Obama leaves

Billionaire casino boss Steve Wynn, who's happily expanding in China, says he and other real estate and hospitality moguls won't invest more in the US until the "socialist" Obama is gone from the White House. (Wynn's a Democrat, by the way). Read more here in Wynn's remarks to investors after Wynn Resorts reported fat profits yesterday. Excerpts:

There are... a host of opportunities to create tens of thousands of jobs in Las Vegas... But I'm afraid to do anything in the current political environment in the United States.

You watch television and see what's going on, on this debt ceiling issue, and what I consider to be a total lack of leadership from the President...

This administration is the greatest wet blanket to business and progress and job creation in my lifetime... I could spend the next three hours giving you examples of all of us, in this marketplace, that are frightened to death about all the new regulations, our healthcare costs escalate, regulations coming from left and right, a President that... keeps using that word 'redistribution'.

Well, my customers, and the companies that provide the vitality for the hospitality and restaurant industry, in the United States of America, they are frightened of this administration. And it makes you slow down and not invest your money.

Everybody complains about how much money is on the side [not invested] in America. You bet. And until we change the tempo and the conversation from Washington, it's not going to change. And those of us who have business opportunities and the capital to do it are going to sit in fear of the President...

This is Obama's deal, and it's Obama that's responsible for this fear in America. The guy keeps making speeches about 'redistribution', and [how] maybe we ought to do something to businesses that don't invest or holding too much money - we haven't heard that kind of talk except from pure socialists.

Everybody's afraid of the government, and there's no need soft peddling it, it's the truth....

And that's true of Democratic businessmen and Republican businessmen, and I am a Democratic businessman and I support [US Sen.] Harry Reid [D-Nevada, the gambling industry's friend]. I support Democrats and Republicans.

And I'm telling you that the business community in this country is frightened to death of the weird political philosophy of the President of the United States. And until he's gone, everybody's going to be sitting on their thumbs...

If the government - if the administration in Washington isn't frightening the dickens out of those of us who create jobs and build buildings and make lives for their employees, they are attacking China where, in the case of my company, the vitality of capital to improve Las Vegas has come from.

"It's the double whammy. American companies that have ventured abroad to broaden their markets are bringing money, have reinvested much of that in America... The rhetoric about offshore capital? There'd be a lot more of it brought back here if the government did intelligent and encouraging things to bring capital back. But this is a very business-[unfriendly], job-creating-unfriendly administration, and that's the plain truth of it... 

Everybody's in a defensive crouch, except for [GE boss Jeff] Immelt, who is sort of a Judas goat [for collaborating with Obama as the President's token big-company CEO pal]...

[Las Vegas hotel-casino growth is] offsetting a lot of those imports that people talk about. Foreigners... mainly Chinese people, come to the United States, if they can get through Homeland Security without too much misery, if they can get a visa, they come to the United States and they leave their money here. They are generous and tasteful. They shop for fine products. They eat good food. They tip well. They create job opportunities here.

[But] coming to the United States is tougher than going almost anywhere else in the world... We seem to have been safe more or less, but so much of it is excessive and irrational, like patting down babies and old ladies...

Our customers that are big businessmen that have been coming to America for 10, 15, 20 years are asking us for help to relieve the bureaucratic congestion of government over-regulation in this area.

We've talked to Homeland Security. They are aware of the problem, so is Customs and Immigration and the State Department... They know the truth of the fact that these things are very often excessive and unnecessary.

But yet, there seems to be a tremendous amount of inertia to move government in America, whether it's the deficit management and coming to some kind of logical conclusion before August 2 or whatever it is, or whether it's getting visas.

Everybody has a clear understanding of the problem, but when it comes to our government, it seems to be getting more and more sclerotic, more and more inflexible by its own device, it keeps growing and growing and getting more and more onerous, more and more sluggish in its responses to real problems, and sluggish in its ability to take advantage of real opportunity. And it's frustrating for me because I got a front-row seat.

Joseph N. DiStefano
About this blog

PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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