Tim Hentschel may get his wish. The CEO of HotelPlanner.com recently stated that he believes Congress should step up and offer economic stimulus solutions as a result of the impact the coronavirus has had on a number of industries, including gaming. He suggested a $2,000 tax break as one possible option, and it appears that the federal government is beginning to consider some type of financial consideration, according to White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow.
Kudlow told several media outlets last week that President Trump is open to a “timely and targeted” financial response to the industries that have been most severely impacted due to the coronavirus. In speaking to Fox Business, he asserted, “What we are looking at…is a timely and targeted micro approach. We want targeted, in a timely fashion, for those areas that have been hit the worst.” What that approach entails remains a mystery at this time.
Any relief, explains Kudlow, would be directed primarily at those employees who are identified as seeing the greatest economic impact from work stoppages that lead to a loss of income. Any stimulus would be allocated to those only in certain geographical areas and only in certain industries. He added that Trump isn’t considering “big, expensive macro cash rebates, helicopter money from the sky” because they never work.
There have been numerous reports that media is hyping coronavirus for its own benefits. However, according to the World Health Organization’s Bruce Aylward, the attention given by the press and by the health community are warranted. The coronavirus and the flu can both lead to death; however, the mortality rate associated with the coronavirus is ten times greater than what is seen with the flu. By not clamping down the way local and federal governments have on tourism, travel, etc., the fallout from the virus could have been much more serious than what has been seen.
This is why so many communities are being proactive in trying to prevent the spread. Las Vegas is one of these, and almost its entire economy revolves around tourism. No tourists mean no revenue, which creates a ripple effect in the economy that starts at the top and works its way through the lowest ranks. Several big conferences, such as the NXT Global Summit and Google’s I/O Conference, have already been canceled, as have a number of others. Elsewhere around the country, similar big-ticket events, like SXSW in Austin, Texas, and Microsoft’s gaming conference in San Francisco, California, have also been pulled.
While it isn’t yet clear what type of stimulus may be coming, the Trump Administration has already approved a relief package worth $8.3 billion to be used by federal, state and local health agencies. To get more money, he would probably have to ask Congress to agree, which might not be an easy task.