The Raiders of Las Vegas Boulevard

The Republican Party represents the interest of big business, the little guy be damned, right?   The Party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan has never held anything but contempt for the working man and the downtrodden oppressed workers prostituted by their big business masters, right?   Republicans stick it to the American people every chance they get with draconian repressive policies, RIGHT?

Those benevolent leaders of the Democratic Party, filled with empathy, warmth, and genuine concern for their fellow man strive continually to make life better for all of us Americans.   You’d never catch the Democratic Party team up with some large evil American Corporation, would you?   It would be counter to their philosophy, worse, imply their motives and ambitions were not genuine.   The American people would never fall for that, would they?

Given these axioms wouldn’t we find it curious to see a large corporation, say, MGM-Mirage, throw its weight behind any Democratic candidate?

Certainly, we might expect to see some smaller organizations, owned and managed by some passionate loony rogue, split off from the prescribed political allegiances and endorse the Democratic Party, but we would never see that come from one of the largest resort corporations in the world, would we?

Just in case you haven’t been paying attention, MGM-Mirage Corporation owns more than one or two resorts on the Las Vegas Strip.

In addition to the MGM Grand Hotel, the MGM-Mirage Corporation owns Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Luxor, Excalibur, New York New York, Monte Carlo, Treasure Island, Circus Circus, and Railroad Pass near Hoover Dam.   It also owns over thirty acres at the southwest corner of Sahara and Las Vegas Blvd. where it is developing the property in a partnership with Dubai World, the infamous UAE Corporation which tried to buy shipping ports in the United States where our illustrious congressmen feigned great security concerns and stopped the deal.   MGM-Mirage also owns the Gold Strike and hundreds of acres on both sides of the freeway in Jean.   It owns casinos in Reno, and has properties outside the state as well.   Its yearly revenue is over 7 billion dollars.

With all that as a backdrop, armed with the conventional wisdom that Democrats are hostile toward big business always throwing their lot in with the little guy, why on earth would MGM-Mirage encourage and direct its 70,000 employees to attend Democratic caucuses, to give them maps and instructions on how to attend only Democratic caucuses and in some cases to rearrange their work schedules so employees could attend only Democratic caucuses?

Each election cycle MGM-Mirage prints out flyers for all its 70,000 employees and tells them how they ought to vote, on candidates and on propositions.

And they never endorse Republican candidates!

How can this be?

It’s funny when we see some of capitalism’s most aggressive and cut throat businessmen suddenly turn their focus toward altruistic activities.   Bill Gates used predatory practices withholding software from computer manufacturers unless they packaged their products in accordance with his dictates.   Warren Buffet closed factories and sent jobs overseas faster than you could say 37 billion.   Kirk Kirkorian majority shareholder of MGM-Mirage is noted for the hostile takeover of the Mirage resorts.

Now these mega-billionaires indulge their philanthropic fantasies; perhaps responding to some guilt they endure for their past rapacious and ruthless behavior?   And that’s why MGM-Mirage supports Democrats?

I hardly think so.

What the hell difference does it make if your tax rate goes from 35% to 44% when you are profiting two or three hundred million dollars yearly?   When all your extravagant entertainment and travel expenses go to write down your profit anyway?   When money has long ago ceased to be any type of barrier in reaching your goals and satisfying your whim?

Not a hell of a lot of difference.   Trivial things like the top tax bracket only matter to those moderately successful small businessmen and entrepreneurs who can afford to buy a new car every three years, but can’t afford to charter a Lear jet at the drop of a hat.   These things matter greatly to a guy who has devoted years of his life building his small business investing hundreds and hundreds of hours, often taking time away from his family, not for tremendous amounts of money, but just for keeping his little enterprise alive.   These things  also might matter to the few scores of workers who have become loyal and dependent members of the little business, who won’t have those jobs when the business owner, who keeps the whole thing together, decides he doesn’t want to do it anymore because some arbitrary politician has proclaimed to the American people that he’s a rich guy, and isn’t paying his fair share.

To a guy like that the freedoms and liberties guaranteed in America’s Constitution are not abstract and esoteric concepts, they are real ideals that give him a chance to face off against overwhelming odds when challenging corporations with seemingly unlimited funds.  

When corporations exploit their advantages via their size and momentum it’s called economy of scale , and this is encouraged by our capitalist system to bring the best deals to American consumers.   When they exploit their advantages because they have the politicians ear, it’s called payola and corruption (and consumers get screwed paying inflated prices prompted by government subsidies and capricious bureaucratic sentiment manifesting itself in protective policy).   These were not concepts that were ever encouraged or valued by America’s system of laissez-fare.

Additionally, when we hear some politician ostensibly declare he will protect the people by insuring business doesn’t rape the environment , or create unsafe working conditions , what he really ventures to do is institute complicated government regulations and difficult hurdles that only large corporations (loyal to the politician) could ever hope to comply with.

The Democratic Party tells us they’re out to protect the little guy, and that Republicans are self-serving leaches who will sacrifice us all given half a chance.   My question is what little guy?   The uninitiated individual who votes to raise taxes because he thinks it’s going to increase his government handout, or the guy knocking himself out chasing that American dream, all the while making opportunity for others by offering jobs and experience in industry?  

In the old days, where I can recall having my tire changed at the Shell station across from Caesar’s Palace on the strip, you could get a decent room for twenty bucks, a good meal, and have a hell of a time, and that’s when creepy mobsters ran the joint.  

Now that we have cleaned up Las Vegas and gotten rid of all the bad guys , honest corporations have taken over and a room today will only set you back a couple c-notes.   That’s unless you’re in town for the Consumer Electronics Show, then you might need close to a grand to secure that precious overnight stay.

You can always tell who the biggest crooks of all are

They’re the ones standing with Democrats.  

 

Copyright 2008 Jim Pontillo

11 thoughts on “The Raiders of Las Vegas Boulevard

  1. Great column!

    It is stunning the way our Left has looked at life in a mirror. While bemoaning the “Pary of the Rich”, they ignore the embarassingly wealthy in their own ranks.

    Indeed, it is my theory that larger businesses prefer, not Republican, but Democrats for economic reasons. Yes, the Democrats stand for higher taxes, more regulation and such. But larger corporations and businesses are much better able to deal with these matters, than smaller businesses. Smaller businesses are the primary competition to larger businesses. Recall how Apple and Sun Systems essentially hired the Clinton Justice Dept. to take down Microsoft.

    Please check out my blog (http://montagsworld.blogspot.com/)

    Thank you!

  2. Corps don’t care about taxes as they have never paid taxes. That is a cost that is handed down to their customers. They are merely a tax collection agency.

    Back in the 80s a poll of Senate and House showed there were more democrats that were millionaires than republicans. I doubt that the balance has changed.

    Cheers!
    Mark

  3. This was a wonderful article. Since I live here I have seen how greedy the big corporations are, and would gladly have the mob back running Las Vegas. But, alas we have moved on, and it won’t happen. We moved here thinking it was going to be cheaper for our retirement years. I worked for MGM for two years and saw how they try to influence our thinking.
    Thanks for a great article.

  4. I really was disappointed when Mr. Fred Thomson droped out of the race. He was truely a conservative and will be missed.

  5. Your argument is typical platonian style if this is always true, democrats are friends of the little guy, and republicans are friends of business, then this must also be true. Most organizations will act in there own self interest, so an organization of politicians will no doubt sway wither the wind blows. Given that, business will support (ie. give bribes in the form of campain contributions) whoever they think will win.

    If you would like to argue that democracy of the people would best be served by removing corporate money, I would certainly agree.

  6. I agree 100%. Liberals who fall for the Democrat promise of “taxing the evil corporations” fail to realize that NOT ONE CORPORATION WILL OPERATE AT A LOSS WITHOUT GOING OUT OF BUSINESS. They set the price for their products high enough to operate with a net gain after subtracting all costs of doing business – including taxes – in other words it is the end consumer who pays the corporate taxes, not the corporation.

  7. Jim, How True Your Words! Democrats should be ashamed of their misrepresentation. Also, ashamed that they are trying to reinstate power to two former American Presidents — Bill and Hillary.

    Not only power but “Double Dipping” from our treasury — think about the amount of money paid from our taxes to the Clinton’s retirement fund if Hillary should win. Perks, such as her retirement office, etc., etc., shall also be paid by us — the two couldn’t possibly share Bill’s expensive office and staff.

  8. This is certainly an interesting website. While I am both conservative and and an economics major, thereby agreeing with virtually every point in this post, I also find the lack of disagreement disconcerting, so I’m here to add some.

    First of all, these posts have a few new spins, but are mostly just re-hashings of mainstream conservative dogma.

    Second, consider this: this is for a gun company. Doesn’t it seem convenient for the gun company to blatantly endorse conservative republican views, among which are “every citizen has the right to own a gun”, or something close to that? It feels to me like they are endorsing these views not necessarily because they hold them, but because they’ve hired a nice advertising person who told them they should develop a loyal following with people who will buy from them because they are “patriotic” and “republican” and all that good stuff.

    I’m not saying guns are bad, or this company is evil, or anything. Just that when reading this, keep in mind their agenda.

  9. Becca,

    You’re quite astute; however, astute and accurate are two different things.

    As you get a chance to review more of the columns here (we are to 57 now) you will become intimate with views of their author, who also happens to be the manager, developer, designer, engineer, CEO, salesman, bill collector, toilet washer and every other position that might be attributable to the owner of a small business.

    The views I share (I’ve written every column.) here are certainly conservative, but to be sure, it would be much more accurate to say the purveyor of these views has pursued a business and a product which complements his views and his agenda than has he developed a view and an agenda to complement his product and his business (I can refer you to people who have known me for more than two decades to verify this fact, if you like).

    While I make my living, and toil diligently daily fighting in the very competitive (and decimated by China) plastics business, the gun business is one I pursue with passion. It is also a business which may enable wealth impossible to capture in my very competitive and depressed service business.

    The problem is, developing products is usually accomplished by a team which has access to large funds. The FMK Firearms Company has been driven unilaterally by me and all finances have come solely from revenue received through my plastics company.

    Our website’s theme and content, birthed singularly from my imagination, is a serendipitous result arrived upon when my website manager copy and pasted an Ann Coulter column on our site over a year ago. This development made me uncomfortable and encouraged me to create content that would complement my pending product, and promote my views.

    It is my most optimistic hope that this strategy might be so successful as to achieve what one might by hiring a professional marketing firm.

    Right now, it’s just me, my idiot neighbor Mike, and Dave, my webmaster.

    Best Wishes,

    Jim

    CEO and all the other jobs
    FMK Firearms

  10. As a life-long liberal (though I’m young), this is definitely food for thought. Both sides tend to demonize each other, so if you’re on one side it’s hard to see where the other side is coming from when you are raised to be so distrustful of their viewpoint. I feel this is a problem with many of the supporters of both parties. But I have always wanted to understand where the conservatives are coming from, because they can’t all just be greedy, evil people who think of nothing and no one but money and their own selfish interests.

    I do believe the Democrats stand up for the little guy much more than the Republicans seem to. The little guy is not the self-made businessman — the little guy is the one working for him. I agree that EVERY person in this country should have the freedom and opportunity to move up in the world and not be unnecessarily hindered by excessive taxes. But this is manifested by the Democrats standing for equality and trying to bolster the poor and disenfranchised, who often don’t have those opportunities. I believe that capitalism is good, but it runs on greed, and when that gets out of hand, as in the case of huge corporations, government regulation is called for. That shouldn’t necessarily mean more taxation; laws strictly enforcing fair business practices and transparency would most likely help that even more. But the Republicans don’t seem to support such laws.

    There will always be people who are superrich, people who are extremely poor, and everyone in between. The best scenario would be to have the groups at either of those extremes be as small as possible, with the vast majority of the wealth distributed in the middle. This would create an extremely stable society (as we have today, though it could use some tweaking). But in order to do this we have to keep the very richest entities from hording wealth and not dispensing it fairly among those who help them obtain that wealth. Doesn’t that seem reasonable? I believe capitalism works, but only with this type of government regulation. If I recall correctly, it was the Democrats and union action in the early 20th century that gave us workers’ rights and fair pay that we all enjoy today, unlike so many other countries. It has allowed our middle class to become extremely affluent and created a culture of fairness. I get the feeling that that has been eroding ever since Reagan (though I wasn’t born at that time… again, I do want to understand the other side of this).

    If the Democrats are in cahoots with these corporations, well, let me be the first to call them scum. I’m one of the Democrats who does feel we need big change and a fresh face in Washington to clean up the entrenched, inefficient, and corrupt system we have there now. I don’t think any Republican would do that, because of their unflinching support for business in all its manifestations, both fair and unfair.

    But I am completely open to being enlightened on this matter. By facts and rational ideas as opposed to partisan propaganda and spin.

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