Where Big Business Stands On Politics: On Neither Side

Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn has had a lot to say about Barack Obama of late and not much of it is good,

“Right now we are more afraid of Washington than we are of the economy. We’ve got people on our backs saying don’t go to Las Vegas which is preposterous,” Wynn said. “People are beginning to ignore some of this bombastic rhetoric from the White House and that’s encouraging.”

Wynn has been vocal with his criticism of President Obama’s remarks on Las Vegas and how it has affected his business since his fourth quarter earnings call in February. Wynn said during the February earnings call since the president made his remarks, State Farm Insurance pulled out of a $5 million convention at his resorts.

…”The president has his own office and his own group of people who agree with him and look at the world just as he does and they don’t listen to anyone from what I’ve heard from my business friends. They invite people down to Washington and tell them. They don’t think or listen to anyone,” Wynn said.

…”We’ve got the government on our back. Not just Las Vegas but all business. There’s a very definite bias in this administration that business is bad,” Wynn said. “I don’t know how long it’s going to take for them to get over this but it’s awful.”

Wynn, whose company operates Wynn Macau and is in the development stages of Encore Macau, praised the special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China for their protection of their citizens and acceptance of business enterprises. The casino operator called Macau “a great place to do business with none of the anxieties we have at the present time in America.”

“In America, we have a government that has decided anybody who creates jobs must be bad; that the job creators must have a target on their back. What a remarkable misunderstanding,” Wynn said. “That’s not the case in Macau and it’s not the case in The People’s Republic of China and maybe we can all learn a lesson on what happens there.”

Wynn was also critical of President Obama’s health care proposal, calling the plan a “train wreck.”

After reading those comments, you might think that Wynn may have seen this coming. After all, he’s a sharp businessman, right? However, when I took a look at donations from the 2008 election cycle, while I found that more of his money went to Republicans than Democrats, I also came across these contributions,

WYNN, ELAINE (Wynn’s wife. They’ve since filed for divorce): $4,600 Obama, Barack (D)
WYNN, ELAINE: $2,300 Baucus, Max (D)
WYNN, ELAINE: $2,300 Berkley, Shelley (D)
WYNN, ELAINE: $2,300 Berkley, Shelley (D)
WYNN, ELAINE: $2,300 Biden, Joseph R Jr (D)
WYNN, ELAINE: $2,300 Biden, Joseph R Jr (D)
WYNN, ELAINE: $2,300 Thompson, Bennie G (D)
WYNN, ELAINE: $2,300 Thompson, Bennie G (D)
WYNN, STEPHEN: $2,300 Thompson, Bennie G (D)
WYNN, STEPHEN: $2,300 Thompson, Bennie G (D)
WYNN, STEPHEN: $3,500 Democratic Senatorial Campaign Cmte (D)
WYNN, STEPHEN: $2,300 Baucus, Max (D)
WYNN, STEPHEN: $2,300 Baucus, Max (D)
WYNN, STEPHEN: $2,300 Berkley, Shelley (D)
WYNN, STEPHEN: $2,300 Berkley, Shelley (D)
WYNN, STEPHEN: $2,300 Biden, Joseph R Jr (D)
WYNN, STEPHEN: $2,300 Biden, Joseph R Jr (D)

Now again, let me reiterate that overall, the Wynn family gave more money to Republicans than Democrats, but they still gave a pretty substantial contribution to the Democrats — and that’s not unusual. What you will often find is that people like Wynn give money to both sides.

Why?

Well, if you pay off both sides, you’ll have the ear of both sides when they’re making legislation that impacts your bottom line. I can guarantee you that if Steve Wynn needs to get a message to Bennie G. Thompson or Max Baucus, he can do it and they will pay attention. That can be very useful given that the Democrats run everything. Had Wynn only given money to Republicans, those Democrats wouldn’t care what he had to say.

Additionally, big business wants different things from both parties.

They like the Republicans because the GOP is in favor of the free market, wants to keep regulations to a minimum, and wants to cut taxes.

On the other hand, putting money in the hands of the right Democrats can be useful, too. It can mean having a loophole thrown into legislation to protect you from new regulations or taxes. They can also be convinced to write legislation to hurt your competitors and help you (See what UPS is trying to do to FedEx right now for a good example of that).

Of course, sometimes issues break across party lines. If you want to know why Congress has seemed to be so intent on keeping the border open and allowing the illegals who are in country to stay here, money from big business has a lot to do with it. It’s cheaper to pay off Congress to let illegal aliens get away with breaking the law than it is to actually pay American workers what the market would dictate otherwise.

Either way, don’t ever buy into the idea that big business is “on our side.” They’re on our side to the extent to which they can get something out of us. No more, no less.

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