Pity Las Vegas. America's party capital was already hurting from a collapse in visitors before President Obama went and stuck his oar in. Now Sin City is reverberating not to the sound of slot machines but emails pinging back and forth from executives canceling upcoming junkets. The reason? His eminence, the President, has decreed that companies shouldn't squander their cash on boondoggle trips to Las Vegas, especially not ones being funded by Joe Sixpack.
"You can't go take a trip to Las Vegas, or go down to the Superbowl on the taxpayer's dime," Obama said this week, referring to the banks busy squandering cash from their recent bailouts on cushy breaks. His comments have enraged Las Vegas mayor, Oscar Goodman, who reckons people aren't visiting his city because "the president doesn't want them to". Goldman Sachs (recipient of a $10bn bailout) and Wells Fargo ($25bn bailout) have both pulled the plug on planned trips, compounding the misery caused by 30,000 room cancellations in January and a 11 per cent plunge in visitors in December.
But help is at hand for the embattled city. Enter Louis, a one-man stimulus package, whose rampant consumerism is single handedly keeping America afloat. (Witness his recent NYC shopping binge.) Our young newspup is planning a two-week roadtrip to the Southwest, kicking off in Las Vegas in defiance of President Obama (his first signs of rebellion: should his Mom be worried?). With the pick of the Strip's hotel rooms, should he stay in a faux Egyptian pyramid or a Disneyfied version of Venice?
From Vegas, it's on to the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and Santa Fe. DJ has carefully plotted the trip to take in four states, bumping Louis' state count up to nine, one for each month he'll have been alive by the time he's done. Babieswhobrunch will be taking to the road too, so watch this space for a daily update on Louis' take on Americana at its finest.
If Obama gets wind of the trip, someone tell him to relax: it isn't US taxpayers' money Louis plans to burn but BBC licence fee payers'.