The Relative Comment

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China and its delicious government

with 5 comments

Salon has an article relating a rant from Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn, which inspired TRC to go on a rant of our own.

In a recent conference call Mr. Wynn declared Obama to be (surprise) a socialist and essentially claimed that President Obama is terrible for business, and until he is gone, no business will make any moves but will “be sitting on their thumbs” because they are “frightened to death of the weird political philosophy of the President of the United States.” Unfortunately, this is not a terribly unusual view of the Obama Presidency, especially among the uber-rich. Excuse me, Job Creators. It’s not correct to say Obama is anti-business, but it’s not uncommon to say it, either. But this part is fine. This part is just sounding off with relatively common anti-Obamaism.

The part of the Wynn rant that is a bit more, well, atrocious, comes from his fawning over the Chinese political and business system. Wynn runs a casino in Macau, see, and it is just too efficient to be believed. Says Wynn of that operation:

We are so grateful to be part of [the Chinese] market and to be allowed to participate in that community. We find the political environment, the regulatory environment, the human resource environment that we’re in to be absolutely delicious. Life is quite straightforward in China. The government is predictable. Our employees are eminently trainable. They’re anxious to please. 

Ok. Now read that paragraph again, knowing it followed an anti-Obama tirade, and what exactly is Wynn saying about America and its labor force? The political, regulatory, and human resource environment of China is absolutely delicious. Are you kidding me? This is the 512th richest man in the United States, a billionaire anti-Obama Las Vegas mogul who loves the Chinese government’s business attitude and labor force and political structure. They are delicious, he says, while we are..run by a wealth redistributing pure socialist.

Yes, Mr. Wynn, if only the United States and President Obama would emulate the totalitarianism of China, maybe these middle class whiners would shut up and be thankful to start working shitty jobs in casinos in the worst idea of a city the US has ever had. Meanwhile the government will provide little to no regulatory oversight for businesses like the “wet blanket” that is the US President wants to infringe on us poor victimized business owners, and any media or dissenters against the brutal billionaire bosses can be forcefully shutdown by the absolutely delicious and predictable government.

No wonder the rich are worried about class warfare, they keep saying things like this. Tell me how raising taxes on Steve Wynn endangers our nation? Please. Because I really want to do it. I think we should impose a Steve Wynn tax. That alone could erase at least a billion dollars of our deficit.

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Written by Christopher ZF

July 20, 2011 at 16:42

Posted in a rant, business, China, taxes

5 Responses

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  1. CZF, I enjoyed your post as much as (most of) Mr. Wynn’s rant. I would hope that in full disclosure, you would mention that Mr. Wynn is a self-described Democrat. I think you and I would agree that gives his “Obama is a socialist” talking points a bit more currency than if he were just another fat cat Republican saying the same thing.
    For the record, I don’t think President Obama is a socialist. But behind (mis)use of that word, I think Mr. Wynn is saying what I hear a lot of people say in my industry (financial services– don’t get me started). That is: newly passed huge regulatory regimes, such as Dodd-Frank, healthcare reform, and cap and trade, have created siginficant uncertainty within the private sector as to costs of compliance, effects of regulation, etc. (not to mention increasing barriers to entry and chasing the little guys, which don’t have the economies of scale to comply with such regulations, out of the market). Thus, no one is hiring, and companies are sitting on large reserves of cash. Do you think that companies want to just hold money in their bank accounts, selfishly keeping it out of the hands of the hoi polloi? No, they want to put it to productive use to make even more money– otherwise, they wouldn’t be in business in the first place. But job creators are not creating jobs because they have little idea of how these signficant new regulatory regimes will affect them. (Ahem– you know, the kind of regime that we must pass so you can find out what’s in it [later].)
    I don’t think Wynn (et al.) is accusing the president of being intentionally anti-business, just that he doesn’t know how to cooperate with the private sector, perhaps because he’s never worked within it. Put it another way, Wynn is suggesting that the adminstration does not have the competence to help foster job growth, whether the intentions are there or not. And that well may be true.
    But I am equally disturbed over his praise for the Chinese system, which to me, pretty much invalidites Mr. Wynn’s perspective. Can us liberals and conservatives and all lovers of freedom and inalienable human rights agree, in one accord, that China is not a nation to emulate, and that so-call economic and bureaucratic efficiency achieved there is not anywhere near worth the tremendous human cost? I’m looking at you, Paul Krugman and Thomas Friedman.
    And we also agree on Las Vegas.

    Brandon

    July 20, 2011 at 17:35

    • As always, Brandon, a wonderful, thoughtful response to my ranting.

      A couple things as to what your response.
      1) As a liberal, I will claim Mr Wynn as a Democrat in the same way most Conservatives will claim David Brooks as a Republican.
      2) We passed a huge regulatory cap and trade regime? When? That’s great news.
      3) I understand regulatory uncertainty and what that can mean. I work in clean energy, and we have our share of regulatory uncertainty. And I understand the complaints that you are making from within the industry. But it only works as an excuse up to a certain point, in my opinion. Job creators that operate in certain worlds get as much sympathy as the coal and oil companies complaining about EPA regulation–Yes, uncertainty is here, but its because you screwed things up so damn bad that you cannot be trusted to work on behalf of people.
      4) People are more important than money. We all agree on that. President Obama is not incompetent in his dealing with business, he has a philosophy of governance that puts people first and is trying to enact it. Everyone is free to disagree with that philosophy. But it isn’t socialism. Or incompetence.
      5) Yes, many business and corporate folks do want to keep money in the bank account and out of the hands of the hoi polloi. I think that greed begets greed. Many executives and CEOs and m(b)illionaires are probably stand-up do-good businessman. But I think that much money corrupts one’s morals.
      6) Las Vegas is America’s Worst Idea.

      czfinke

      July 20, 2011 at 18:14

      • 1) Touché (although I suspect you think conservatives should claim Mr. Brooks).
        2) Haha. I meant the somewhat likely specter of cap and trade in the short- to mid-term.
        3) I see your point, but I don’t think healthcare is something that companies screwed up so damn bad, and you could make the case that only a few greedy actors screwed up things to necessitate Dodd-Frank (and even then, that doesn’t mean Dodd-Frank is an appropriate response, either in kind or scope. You could also make the argument that much of the blame for the financial crisis lies at the feet of the SEC, which did a pretty spotty job of enforcing the myriad rules already in place. And further, I’d be inclined to say that sometimes, economic times are just tough, through little fault of anybody). But I believe your line of thinking is definitely strong in your field, so it probably has merit here, too.
        4) People are more important than money. Sometimes, I suspect liberals have a hard time believing that conservatives also believe that, and that conservatism is also designed around that premise. Inalienable individual rights, liberty, and consistent rule of law are as much people-oriented as economic justice, redistribution, and regulation (and I think most all of these are good things). Of course, the predominant political philosophies of the day all produce some results that are flatly anti-human, though we can argue that some are better than others. I hold that Chesterton and Belloc’s distributism is the system that comes closest to appreciating and promoting human dignity.
        5) Much money definitely can corrupt one’s morals (and as Paul said in a distinct but relatively similar vein, the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil). But, I feel like you are implicitly raising the question of legislating morality. If a person does not come by his wealth through illegal means, what does the government have to say about it? (I suppose one could build a completely positive/practical case for punitive redistribution around society functioning efficiently, yet, to be honest, I don’t think most people find cases lacking a normative component compelling.) Of course, you could enact policies that tend to promote a more equitable distribution of wealth though voluntary acts of society, without being punitive or appealing to class warfare. Ironically, I think that relatively less regulation produces a better climate for this kind of result than more regulation, since as I said, regulation creates barriers to entry, and only firms with sufficient means to meet this arbitrary level of regulation will be able to compete. In a fully efficient and populated marketplace, there are no profits in the long run for any firm. The closer the market is to monopoly or oligopoly, the larger the fewer firms grow, and the less efficient the market (and the less wealth in the many hands). I think that many conservatives and many liberals would agree that many small shops are better than a few large ones. Regulation tends to benefit the large firms at the expense of the small. Of course I’m not making a case for no regulation (though I think the civil court system should be able to address much of this), and it’s definitely not an easy discussion.
        6) Absolutely agreed, but the Wynn Hotel and Casino is actually quite nice. And they do have an In ‘n Out in Vegas…

        Brandon

        July 23, 2011 at 13:40

  2. I feel like I just got lawyered.

    Just to clarify, I don’t think of myself as a pro-regulation person. I think of myself as someone who sees imbalances that are not going to be rectified by any other solution than government (polluting the commons, for example), and thus, regulatory structures are necessary.
    As far as financial regulation, things are much more challenging, but we have a pretty consistent history in the US of increasing regulation and then periods of deregulation, of increasing taxes and decreasing taxes, and I think that’s how it should be (mostly).
    Now, in my opinion, this is not the time for further deregulation, further tax cuts, further cutting of services that people do actually depend on every day.
    For what its worth.
    I don’t think that conservatives value money more than people. I do think that filthy rich, millionaires and billionaires often do. And lets not forget the point here. I want the super-rich to be taxed a lot more. I’m not talking about the 250K folks, of which my opinion is much more nuanced. I want those folks who live in the spectrum of, we’ll say Lebron James to Steve Wynn, in this country to shoulder a burden they CAN manage and still be filthy rich.

    czfinke

    July 23, 2011 at 14:05

  3. Haha. I didn’t mean to lawyer, but I see that I expanded the discussion quite a bit. Sorry for that.

    Brandon

    July 25, 2011 at 18:21


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