Recession hits the brothel business

One Nevada madam says clients no longer have as much money to spend, and she worries about the fiscal cliff negotiations in Washington.

By Kim Peterson Nov 29, 2012 1:01PM
The world's oldest profession took a hit during the recession as customers were forced to cut back on their, uh, entertainment expenses. But just when a recovery seemed under way, even prostitution has become a victim of the fiscal cliff, CNBC reports.

In this video, the madam who runs the famous Mustang Ranch brothel in Nevada says business has been better. Susan Austin thought prostitution would be recession-proof, but that didn't happen.
"When a lot of my high rollers all of a sudden discovered they didn't have the discretionary income and they couldn't play as hard as they used to, well that definitely dug into their wallets which definitely affected us," she told CNBC's Jane Wells.Image: Couple holding hands (Corbis/Corbis)

The company doesn't count prostitutes among its employees. Instead, the prostitutes work as independent contractors that negotiate prices with customers and then pay Mustang Ranch a commission, Wells reports. If customers decide to use one of the larger, nicely decorated suites, it can add $1,000 to their bill.

The Ranch has been forced to drop prices on its "Pleasure Menu." And though it's tough to imagine the fiscal cliff being a top conversation topic there, Austin seems to be worried about the potential of higher taxes and a heavier burden on the rich that the fiscal cliff may bring.

"Anything that happens in Washington affects everybody in the United states," she said. "It's going to trickle down to me sooner or later. So it's definitely going to hurt me in the end."

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Dec 3, 2012 11:59AM
If the gvt really wants everyone to be screwed why not have a sexual stimulus package that includes a tax credit for brothel fees. This would give the equivalent of bailout money to the brothels w/o adding a money manager in DC.
Nov 30, 2012 11:37AM
Perhaps both, the recession and the brothel business, will have a "happy ending".
Nov 30, 2012 6:07AM
Might try running some coupons or some midnight specials; maybe,  BOGO? Maybe a little something to the first 20 clients? There are ways to stimulate business. 
Nov 30, 2012 2:57AM
The world's oldest profession is not prostitution.  It is begging, someone had to ask for it.
Nov 30, 2012 12:38AM

i feel bad for the honies and the brothel owners et al. ho's need $love$ too. harry reid's nevada is suffering because obama told people to stop spending their money in nevada  in 2010, tha joark!


Nov 29, 2012 9:55PM

 "It's going to trickle down to me sooner or later. So it's definitely going to hurt me in the end."


Uh, YA literally!

Nov 29, 2012 9:32PM

Obama messes up even his blue state - Nevada...................


Obama again is affecting the economy in bad ways - even his constituents in Nevada are losing income....why would they ever vote for him??


4 more years of...........misery!!

Nov 29, 2012 9:21PM
I thought the recession ended 2 years ago. ya that's why the fed increased the money supply by 300% them's ho's is going to get really expensive in the future.
Nov 29, 2012 9:19PM
she said it's going to hurt her in the End....but she should know what to do about that??!
Nov 29, 2012 9:08PM
While certainly interesting and understandable I was more impressed with the class with which the reporters handled this interview and story.  They simply stuck to the business angle of it and made no attempt to make any kind of moral judgement about the nature of the business.  No matter what anyone may say or think prostitution is a business plain and simple.  Just like any other service business they are subject to the whims of the economy. 
Nov 29, 2012 8:48PM
Was this report after black friday?
Nov 29, 2012 8:44PM
This is devastating. Jobs are one thing, but when you start messing with tail,
that could lead to war.
Maybe Harry Reid can them a bailout. 
Call it an alternative energy project. 
Nov 29, 2012 8:43PM
Don't worry as soon as Obama's Secret Service are in town it will be black Friday all over again !
Nov 29, 2012 8:42PM
Well, this is just terrible, terrible news...I just so distraught and depressed! I had no idea.....what's a girl to do?  Not to worry Uncle Obama will take care of you.....did you know you can get Food Stamps?  Yes, they are quite popular now, everyone is getting into this! The owner said "it's definitely going to hurt me in the end!  LOL!   Good luck, ladies!
Nov 29, 2012 8:42PM
Once again a bunch of whores are causing troubles for the working people! And I mean those in D.C., not the ladies in question!
Nov 29, 2012 8:41PM
Am I the only one that noticed the madam finished by saying, appropriately, "..this is definitely gonna hurt me in the end." ? I would not be surprised if that was humorous intentiona editing.
Nov 29, 2012 8:38PM
Just send a few free tickets to D.C. and your tax proplems will be over.
Nov 29, 2012 8:36PM
Well hopefully she has not seen too much "down sizing" among her customer base.
Nov 29, 2012 8:32PM
The recession is hitting them hard because they are competing against the government.  No one is better at screwing people than the government.
Nov 29, 2012 8:11PM
that's a stiff problem to swallow.....
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