Two interesting stories --- especially to taxpayers finishing up income tax returns and wondering how their money will be spent --- somehow escaped most print and broadcast editors’ attention late last week: First Lady Michelle Obama, with her two daughters, visited Las Vegas one week after President Barack Obama made it to Sin City, and the United States plans to give $100 million in cash to Tunisia, observes Grumpy Editor.
Mrs. Obama’s trip, not announced to media, came to light following a Las Vegas reporter’s query on a special closure at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport.
Her Wednesday-Thursday visit with daughters Malia, 13, and Sasha, 10, was noteworthy because the president shot arrows at Las Vegas twice in recent years, scaring off tourist and convention activity.
In February, 2009, aiming at business gatherings, he declared: “You can’t take a trip to Las Vegas or down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers dime.”
Then a year later, he warned: “You don’t blow a bunch of cash in Vegas when you’re trying to save for college.”
A sour economy followed, resulting in thousands of casino workers’ jobs lost plus Las Vegas rising to first place in the U.S. with home foreclosures.
Last year’s unemployment in Las Vegas, at 13.3 percent, was among the highest in the nation.
Meanwhile, most editors also missed Thursday’s announcement from the Obama administration that $100 million, subject to congressional approval, will go to Tunisia for short-term fiscal relief --- to help improve its economy.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the funds would allow Tunisia to “use this money for its priority programs, accelerating economic growth and job creation.”
In addition, the U.S. is negotiating a separate package that would offer loan guarantees to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for Tunisia.