By Catherine Austin Fitts
Well, I’m on the road again. On this trip, I am spending five days in Las Vegas. There was someone I wanted to meet. So I took some time to hang out, to get to know them better. I have not been in Las Vegas since I gave a keynote address as Assistant Secretary of Housing – Federal Housing Commissioner to the National Association of Homebuilders in 1990.
My favorite book on Las Vegas is the one Sally Denton co-authored in 2002 – The Money and the Power: The Making of Las Vegas and its Hold on America. One of the great insights was that the Mormon church was one of the initial financiers behind Las Vegas. In the deep state, patterns of investment always lead to fascinating connections.
My favorite movie is The Godfather series which encompasses the entire Nevada scene – from Las Vegas to Reno to Tahoe. Of course, I love Elvis so I must give a nod to Viva Las Vegas!
While here, I took a road trip to see the Hoover Dam at Lake Mead, Nevada, a project featured in Sally Denton’s book on Bechtel, The Profiteers: Bechtel and the Men who Built the World. If you pull out a map, you can imagine the strategic impact of asserting control of the Colorado river in a separate state legal jurisdiction before it gets to California and Arizona. The Hoover dam is a giant spigot sitting atop Southern California. That’s real power.
As of 2012, Las Vegas had 152,275 hotel rooms spread across a total of 355 hotels. With a population of approximately 2 million people, Las Vegas bills itself as the “Entertainment Capital of the World.” When I reviewed the casino stocks in 2012-13, my assessment was that building and operating casinos in Asia was essential to success. The squeeze on the American middle class is not good for Las Vegas.
The Trump International Hotel towers over Las Vegas. It makes economic sense that a casino developer wants to “Make America Great Again.”