April Fool's Day is tomorrow, and appropriately Prince George's County is focused on bringing a casino that will secure a funding stream for its largest stakeholder, government itself.. With a full panoply of gambling options in place, Prince George's County will be able to offer a quick dose of construction jobs followed by a thousand or more, part-time 12.00 an hour jobs - jobs that pay perhaps as much as 20,000 a year. As someone who is looking for work I am eager to apply even as I will have to move out of the county to afford to work at the casino. But a job is better than no job so this is a good thing.
And there is no doubt that adding gambling is good for National Harbor. Gaming will allow National Harbor to compete for customers in need of a large well supported meeting space. Conventions will be enticed by the wide range of options that National Harbor can supply its convention cliental, from shopping to betting. As to how this will benefit small, independent hotels and restaurants outside the control of National Harbor, the best we can say is that Darwinian capitalism will force them to improve their offers or wither away.
Of course I wish we were bringing a 21st century suite of employment, like an international bioagricultral life science research facility that partnered with NASA, the University of Maryland, FDA, and USDA APHIS and ARS (BARC and NAL). Instead of being the county that brings an opportunity to learn about the odds of making money by doing nothing, we could be the global destination that provides one stop solutions to food, fuel (energy), feed, forage, fiber, flowers, fish and forests - solutions that could feed the world.
And while we are at it, we might take the time to ask if our political elite has stopped squabbling long enough to decide where the new national headquarters of the FBI will be. Or is the ingrained short term self interest of our political machine going to allow other counties to make a clear united pitch and grab the prize of real jobs? We cannot mall our way to economic success, nor can we gamble on games to better our lot in life.