Thursday, February 7, 2008

Hey Big Spender

The Agony of de Feet

Oh nooooooo: Mitt Romney could have borrowed a line from a TV celebrity today. As the cartoon character Mr. Bill from Saturday Night Live used to say whenever he was about to get pulverized, "Oh noooooo." Perhaps he ran out of pocket change after spending $ 50 million of his own money, or perhaps he got tired of being beaten up by his fellow Republicans, or perhaps he cut a backroom deal to provide for a Big Mac. Regardless of his motivation, the Mitt has been smit from the race. That leaves only Reverend Mike to stand in the way of the Commodore. It also means that each party is down to two little candidates (see January 30 post Hungry Candidates Await Supper Tuesday and "Ten Little Candidates").

Mitt Wastes $ 50 Mil? He's a piker: Those of us "Little People" as described by the late Leona Helmsley might think that the ability of Governor Mitt to spend $ 50 million of his own money is a huge commitment. Wonder how much he has left (whoops, sorry about the use of the word "left"). I guess it just depends on one's perspective. Steve Wynn, chair and CEO of Wynn Resorts has seen his stock holdings decline by $ 1.4 billion (with a B).

Could it be worse? It could if you're Kirk Kerkorian, majority stockholder of MGM Mirage has seen his portfolio slip by a whopping $ 4.6 billion (also with a B), more than triple the loss of Steve Wynn. And his losses weren't the worst for Las Vegas stake holders!

Local hotel magnate Sheldon Adleson, dreamer and builder of the Venetian and Palazzo Hotels in Las Vegas has had seen an adjustment in his portfolio of nearly triple the amount of Kirkerkorian's loss - $ 10.8 billion! That is a big hit, even if last September he was cited as the third richest American with holdings of $ 28 billion. It reminds me of the sage who once said, "A million here, a million there... pretty soon you're talking about real money.

"Please sir, can I have a little more?" Compared to the guys above, Las Vegas schoolteachers seem a bit like the Charles Dickens character, orphan and beggar Oliver Twist when he dared ask for another morsel of food. Local teachers, hat in hand, have for years begged the legislature for a humble increase in their pay but state budgets have kept them ranked among the bottom few states in pay. One justification is that perks such as no state income tax should make up the difference.

But teachers have come up with a different tack, asking that Fagin, er, the gaming industry's tax rate be increased by a mere three percent with monies designated to be spent on teacher salaries. The state's largest industry compensating teachers??? What a concept!

A little blogging music Maestro.... How about the old Cricket's tune, "Money (That's What I Want)."

Dr. Forgot

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