Breakout

Steve Wynn Says Business Is ‘Frightened’ of Obama: Is He Right?

Breakout

Steve Wynn says the Obama administration's policies have directly resulted in American business leaders sitting on their bankrolls rather than investing in projects that would create jobs. Wynn, the founder and CEO of Wynn Resorts (WYNN), told Nevada television host Jon Ralston yesterday that he passed on a $2 billion project that could have created as many as 35,000 jobs because he's "afraid of the President," adding that every business guy Wynn knows is "frightened of Barack Obama and the way he thinks."

Breakout asked Hugh Johnson, chairman and CIO of Hugh Johnson Advisors and a job creator in his own right, if Wynn is onto something or just grinding an ax.

Wynn Is "Right on the Mark"

In the attached video Johnson says Wynn is dead right. The rub for Johnson is the proposed tax hike for those making over $250,000 a year. It's not a matter of fair share but of bad business. Many of those people are owners and operators of small businesses. Tax small business people at a higher rate and they'll have less money to hire.

As the owner of a small business himself, Johnson says he would see his taxes rise as a result of the proposed hikes. "I would be affected by an increase in taxes, and that's obviously going to do something to my appetite to hire some new people; it's going to reduce it."

Johnson rejects the notion that the wealthy are opposed to higher taxes because of outsized greed and a lack of compassion. Obama's "creeping policy" against small business in favor of those in need paradoxically limits the beneficiaries' chances of getting a job. Taking money out of the hands of employers is "not how you put the U.S. economy on the road to recovery," as Johnson sees it.

Rising Uncertainty on the Election

Even with the sense that the deck is increasingly stacked against him and his fellow business owners, Johnson doesn't think policy is the main culprit behind the economy recovering without as many jobs as would be expected. A far bigger concern is a lack of certainty on what the tax rates will ultimately be. It's impossible to know whether or not hiring makes economic sense when you don't know what your rates are going to be. Romney's comeback in the polls doesn't help — at least for now.

"I want to see who's going to win this election, and I really want to see what the tax and spending policies are going to be for the next four years," says Johnson. "I don't know that right now, so I'm putting things on hold now and waiting for the outcome of this election."

Even if Romney wins the White House come February, there's no guarantee his policies will actually be put in place. But that's a problem for another day. For now guys like Steve Wynn and Hugh Johnson would be happy just to feel like they aren't the scapegoats for a recovery that continues to feel like a recession.

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