Steve Wynn Shares 'Occupy' Movement's Frustration
Outspoken Wynn Resorts Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn says he shares some of the same frustrations as the Occupy Wall Street movement and that he is reluctant to invest in the U.S. until he has more confidence in the government's economic policies.
"That group is quite diverse," Wynn said of the crowd at Zuccotti Park. "There are people in there that think that government should give them more just because they are alive. There are people who are opposing government spending. There are people there that are opposing bailouts."
Wynn says they all reflect "anxiety, insecurity, fear," about the way the government is handling taxpayers' money.
Wynn made his remarks to analysts during the company's earnings call Wednesday afternoon. He told analysts that, unlike many protestors, he doesn't blame Wall Street and the banks for what's wrong. He blames deficit spending. "I am watching my employees' standard of living drop because of deficits."
Wynn says even though he's given his U.S. workers two cost of living increases, "people working for me are being paid in 80-cent dollars, on their way to 70-cent dollars...the net result of all this is frustration, anxiety and anger."
Wynn called it "worse than hypocrisy" for the Obama administration to attack the rich. "Rich people are now being defined by the administration as people who make a million dollars." He says many business owners who net two or three million dollars pay personal taxes on that.
What's more, "That does not show that 25 to 30 percent of their profits are probably tied up in accounts receivable or inventory, stuff that they can't spend or get their hands on." As for what remains, minus cost of living, "They take whatever is left, these so-called 'millionaires', and they open up another shop or another office, and that is the only known engine of growth in the United States of America."
Wynn says many young people in the Occupy movement don't understand this, and he's isn't angry with them for vilifying the wealthy. "But if it's a politician that does it, or a union leader, then it represents something much more pernicious. It represents a deliberate misleading of the public."
Wynn says he's reluctant to expand in Las Vegas, even as his company continues to do so in China. He told analysts he's been approached by El Ad Properties about the 34-acre Frontier property across from the Wynn and Encore resorts on the Las Vegas Strip. El Ad bought the now empty lot from billionaire Phil Ruffin for a staggering $1.2 billion in 2007, but it hasn't been able to develop it. It stands as a vacant eyesore.
Wynn says El Ad has made him "a very attractive offer" to take over the property, a project that Wynn says could create 10,000 direct jobs and 30,000 indirect jobs. But he won't do it. "I cannot predict what healthcare costs are going to be, what regulatory load they're going to heap on us, what new taxes or other burdens this insatiable governmental appetite for money from the citizens will take us to."
What does Steve Wynn predict? "It is going to get worse." Things will only change, in his opinion, when Americans force the government to control spending. "You cannot sustain these deficits. You cannot undercut the people that create the jobs...the Democratic agenda of spend and bribe the public is bankrupting this country, and until it stops, the citizens of this country are in for more hard times."
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