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The Las Vegas Economy Then and Now
The Las Vegas Economy Then and Now

AIR DATE: August 30, 2011

The economy in Las Vegas has illustrated the worst the recession has had to offer over the past few years. Record foreclosures and unemployment coupled with slow tourism have put Las Vegas and Nevada at the bottom of many lists that measure economic health. It's been difficult for economist and experts to predict when and how the economy in Las Vegas will recover and every month as measurements for housing, tourism and consumer spending come out there have often been surprises, good and bad. So what can we learn from the past and what does the future hold? We're joined by a panel of experts as well as two unemployed citizens and an MGM Resorts International executive to talk about the state of, and future of the Las Vegas economy.
Lawrence Pollard, BBC
Alan Feldman, Sr VP of Public Affairs, MGM Resorts Intl
John Restrepo, Principal, RCG Economics
James Richey, unemployed Las Vegas resident
Roma Blanche, unemployed Las Vegas resident
Lucy Flores, Nevada assemblywoman
    comments powered by Disqus
    It,snot hard to see that that the previous Mayor and now the mayor spouse who has no experience at all being Mayor ,has always leaned towards giving the Casinos a break . The Casinos make millions and billions of dollars , yet the amount of taxes they pay are akin to being Criminal " . I am a veteran of the US Air Force & US Army . All the taxes the Casinos could be paying would help to start programs for Vets , Teachers , the Elderly Programs etc.. . This State failed for the Criminal behavior of the Housing Market , the lack of many Diverse Business that have nothing to do with gambling . Besides which has been the greatest contributor of broken marriages , families , gambling addictions & drug addictions . When will Mayor Oscar ( AKA )Carol Goodman learn that Las Vegas needs factories , theaters , training centers for retraining people for different jobs and an open door policy to really listen to the good people of Las Vegas . Instead of holding a Martini in Oscars hand and scantily clad women on each side of him . What type of image this sends to the message on Marriage . Respectfully Submitted Ret. Lt. Gary Cooper 72nd Military Police Sqaudron US Air Force & US Army
    Gary E CooperAug 26, 2011 10:46:55 AM
    Have been only on and off this AM to listen to the discussion, and phone lines were busy. So I appreciate this opportunity to speak with you. First, to let you know I am currently 69 and fully employed in addition. My complaint with affect of housing value decline is that we made prudent investment in three rental properties and DID NOT refi and take money out of any property. Problem is, that because I can currently make all mtg payments with properties rented, rents received are not sufficient to pay for expenses associated with those properties, and I have to take from my current and retired incomes. There is not one single plan in place that will allow me to get the bank to adjust loan payments in recognition that property values have fallen so low, that they are now even below the low level at which we purchased them. Bank Refi is out of the question. What can we do, so we can get ready to retire?
    Charles ParkerAug 26, 2011 10:23:12 AM
    Respectfully, your panelists seem to have fallen into the trap of saying what they think is right versus what is right for Las Vegas. Education? Seriously, education is only important to the extent that delinquent children are neutralized and bright kids are encouraged to stay. Apart from that, Las Vegas is suffering because of over population - too many people not getting what Vegas is all about is killing us. We need more legislation STAT that legalizes things as only the unique city of Las Vegas can do. It worked in 1932 with the gaming act. Think more liberal gaming laws, gay marriage, prostitution, legal drugs, etc. Keep Vegas ... Vegas...
    JohnAug 26, 2011 10:08:23 AM
    Vegas is Over...the only commerce is cali college kids coming up on the weekends spending school loan money on tatts and bottle service.Cab drivers are making more money because they're encouraged to long haul tourists or lose your job. C'mon Vegas is the new Detroit, even the illegals have left our city...The chronic unemployed now crowd the strip selling water or wearing thrift store shabby costumes panhandling for a buck...The two biggest foreclosure in the US, are now featured on the Las Vegas Strip. There will be no recovery, our elected officials have failed our city miserably...
    local 50yrs+Aug 26, 2011 10:05:09 AM
    There are opportunities to be found here in the Las Vegas valley. If you are a retiree, with a decent income, you might want to consider relocating to the Las Vegas/Henderson area. My neighbors moved here from the Chicago. They couldn't be happier. Warm weather, year-round outdoor activities; and, the got a "sweet deal" on a very nice home. Financially, they are self-sufficient retirees, who are not dependent on finding employment here. Their friends from back east visit often, and are considering relocating to our area. So, there is a sector of affluent retirees, who could find the Las Vegas area an ideal place to live.
    Sylvia DenningAug 26, 2011 10:02:41 AM
    I was born and raised here, and most of my family resides in the valley. I graduated from UNLV this May from the best undergraduate department they had: Women's Studies. I learned from womyn committed to social justice and to meaningful research. What disappoints me is how programs that are not related to an industry are not valued throughout our education system. This weekend, I am spending time with my family at the Tonopah Community Garden, Toys for Smiles, and The Beat Coffee House. These three entities are full of hope and people committed to this city. I ask that you spend time at the garden, with professors like Anita Revilla and Lynn Comella who research immigration and sexuality (hot topics in this city), and others who have established roots here and are doing what it takes to make their lives flourish with meaningful fruit.
    MalloryAug 26, 2011 09:51:06 AM
    Mr Pollard - I hope to have the opportunity to introduce you and your producers to a group of people who are working on an astonishing plan to get Las Vegas moving again. I've been a television producer for 25 plus years and have been asked to get involved. It's impressive, and worth your time. Please contact me at your convenience.
    Terry WilliamsAug 26, 2011 09:49:24 AM
    We would be intrigued to learn more about your group of people and participate in the astonishing plan to get Las Vegas moving again. Please contact us. Also, please see this wonderful piece with positive thoughts about Las Vegas:

    Thank you.

    Kimberly Miles

    Kimberly MilesAug 26, 2011 16:03:52 PM
    I am concerned that your BBC guest will be getting a very skewed perspective on Vegas by where he is looking for it. Us Vegas locals are a very different breed of city dweller. Statistics we tend to skoff at because they fail to understand the unusual variables that truly engage our city and we know unless you live here you can't get it, but you can try. ) However, if he would like to meet a truly diverse group of Las Vegans to talk to.. tonight after 10pm at Diablos on the strip (top floor), there will be about 75-100 of us gathered for some Friday night fun. Come there and meet REAL Las Vegans of all types w different work, social and personal lives. We are diverse & we are a real slice of the Vegas pie. Oh and bring your 80's gear because it is an 80's MeetUp ( which if you are local.. you know.. is how any of us really meet) Have a great day! @schachin
    Kristine SchachingerAug 26, 2011 09:43:50 AM
    Hmm, what should the beeb look at in Vegas? In structural, economic terms we have a highly unstable tax base (tourism & sales tax) coupled with a weak biannual legislature. I don't mean that the legislators are weak people, I just mean that the governor has disproportionate power. Then we had a population boom with no discernible regulation or oversight of mortgage lending. Every sort of bad loan was made, most of them hundreds or thousands of times. Comes the hangover. We are deleveraging all of that household debt in the slowest, most painful manner: foreclosure and short sale. In terms of jobs, tourism is coming back slowly but construction will only recover after the substantial overbuilding of the boom has passed.
    Scott SwankAug 26, 2011 09:42:16 AM
    I trust that Mr. Pollard has made himself familiar with Richard Florida and his concept of the Great Reset (he was interviewed on SON on several occasions by Dave Berns) which sheds considerable light on where we are and what our prospects are likely to be going forward. It is my view that, since Las Vegas is so dependent on tourism...domestic and foreign...we really have to see our future throgh the prism of changes in the world cultures and economies...not simply in the context of the declining American Empire and rising new Gilded Age as we return to a Plutocracy after almost 100 years! Regards, Dave Hamilton
    dave hamiltonAug 26, 2011 09:33:08 AM
    I wish the beb would look at local life. Take Spring Mtn. ranch summer plays. We went last night...sold out! Tovoli center's farmers market on Saturdays. The center doesn't have all the spaces let out, but locals gather there on Saturdays, with thier dogs & kids, in droves. Lots of volunteer groups here in town. I volunteer with the GOlden Retriever Rescue. We go to adoptathons at Petsmart, we have bbq's, play days with dogs. There are lots of volunteer groups here in town. I try to expalin this to my English family and they just can't get it. Show the normal stuff! My husband is ex-R.A.F., I'm an american girl. We met in Germany (cold war stuff), and have lived in Las Vegas over 20 years.
    LorilynnAug 26, 2011 09:18:29 AM
    POLLY CAROLINAug 26, 2011 09:16:31 AM
    Yes, US dominance is declining. Las Vegas does highlight several US ills - low educational attainment, low mental and physical health, and the facade of money shuffling ("gaming") as genuine economic productivity. People come to Las Vegas to spend the money they earned elsewhere, so Vegas is the frosting on a falling cake. The US needs to put the lawyers, financiers, and marketers on a short leash and genuinely productive sectors need to be in the forefront. United States of Decline indeed.
    Aunty PalinAug 26, 2011 07:22:58 AM
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