Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman Steve Wynn participated in a roundtable discussion on Fox News Sunday this morning, discussing the state of the economy with host Chris Wallace.
Wynn, fresh off his successful initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, criticized President Barack Obama administration’s handling of the economy. Wallace introduced Wynn by saying Nevada’s current unemployment rate, 13.2 percent, was second highest in the nation.
“The priorities of the administration should have been focused on jobs from the inauguration forward,” Wynn said. “People would have had a positive outlook toward tomorrow when they have a job. The priority should have been job creation.”
Wynn, who opened the $2.3 billion Encore at Wynn Las Vegas last December, said he hired 5,000 employees for the resort.
“My return on investment hasn’t been that great,” Wynn said.
But he is fearful that current economic debate in Congress is more harmful than helpful.
“It’s counter productive,” Wynn said.
Also taking part in the discussion were Democratic Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Republican Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s, who has advised Republicans and Democrats.
Wynn took issue with some of Zandi comments. At one point Wynn said, “the economists had their moment.” He also sparred with Granholm, over the role of government.
“Government never increased the standard of living of a single human in history,” Wynn said. “How do you increase someone’s standard of living? Give them a job.”
Most of Wynn’s criticism, however, was directed at Obama, whose election was publicly supported by his soon-to-be ex-wife Elaine Wynn.
“Consumer confidence will return when the unemployment rate goes down,” Wynn said. ”Soaring speeches, with or without a teleprompter, are not issue. Government has never created a job or their standard of living.”
Granholm, however, jumped in, citing the creation of the minimum wage that has helped millions of workers.
Wynn countered by saying the health care debate has confused the matter and delayed any economic fix. He said he employs 20,000 and has provided insurance coverage for 150,000 families in his career.
“Healthcare is something I know about,” Wynn said. “It’s a complicated and technical issue. Everybody in this administration has zero experience in dealing with healthcare. They should be focused on job creation.”
Daniels sided with Wynn on several points and Wallace allowed the casino operator the final word in the debate.
“We need to focus on the simple truths,” Wynn said. “Simple truths hold institutions together. We have lost our focus.”