David Siegel, the owner of Westgate Resorts, has informed his employees, via email, that if Obama is reelected, he will lay off workers, downsize his company and possibly even close it down.
This is typical of employer efforts to suppress the vote, or intimidate workers into voting a particular way. This tactic was used in the past to deny votes to African Americans, or to force workers to vote for a particular candidate. As such, it ought to be viewed as voter fraud and charges brought against the owner. That this is unlikely to happen goes without saying.
This CEO was quite specific about his threats, saying that if Obama wins, and any new taxes are levied on my company;
“I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company. Rather than grow this company I will be forced to cut back. This means fewer jobs, less benefits and certainly less opportunity for everybody.”
This sounds like a very specific threat, vote for the candidate that I want, or you will lose your job. This from a man worth billions, billions that he took from the workers instead of paying them a living wage, with health benefits, vacations and other benefits, he chose to take the results of their labor and pay himself. He personifies the reasons that we should tax the wealthy at far higher rates.
The people that do the work in his hotels, making beds, cleaning floors, keeping the places impeccable for visitors, are treated like serfs, disposable people, there only for the glorification of the CEO. He did not do the work; they did, every day, rain or shine, while he was building a modern day Versailles, the largest mansion in America. This kind of ostentatious consumption while your workers are struggling to pay rent, or tuition for their kids, or highly priced medical care because they cannot afford health insurance, is immoral. One man has no need of a castle of the size that he has created.
So greedy is this man that, not content with being worth billions, while his workers struggle, he wants even more, more tax cuts, an even greater handout from the government. He wants his workers to pay more of their hard earned wage in tax, while he luxuriates in ever more sumptuous surroundings.
He goes on to say that,
“People like me who made all the right decisions and invested in themselves are being forced to bail out the people who didn’t.”
Firstly, people make the best decisions they can at the time with the information and the training that they are able to obtain. Perhaps they made poor decisions, and perhaps not. Far too many people are not able to attend universities because of the enormous costs, the need to bring in an income to support families, the lack of funding from investors or banks. They are often forced to take these decisions due to circumstance.
As for bailing others out, without the thousands of people that give up their time to make this parasite wealthy, he would be mucking out stables. His employees work hard, long hours at unfulfilling jobs to put food on their table, and Siegel reaps the benefits. For all the help that they have given him, he then has the temerity to refuse to help them when they need it.
In addition, he forgets the tens of thousands of people that visit his resorts. Without them, he would be shining shoes on some street somewhere. Without the incomes that those people have, he would not survive. When the people are earning enough to pay their bills and have some surplus left over, they can visit resorts and spend their hard earned wages. No one builds anything alone, let alone this predatory scavenger.
This CEO almost went under during the financial crisis, with around $1bn in debt, his home in foreclosure. Yet he complains about the country having too much debt while he was financing his lavish lifestyle with debt. Such hypocrisy, that he can live off massive amounts of debt, but when the country does it to try and create jobs, he is against it.
It is always claimed that people like this create jobs, and yet his company now employs 5,000 fewer workers than it did in 2007. Which jobs did he create? Under his leadership the company lost jobs. Perhaps we should rely on government jobs rather than his incompetent leadership.
Siegel ought to be charged with voter intimidation. That he won’t goes without saying. Being wealthy, he will just spin the story in some way that shows him in the best possible light, rather than as an autocrat that has no time for democratic rights.
He criticizes the Obama administration, and yet his company has kept afloat during those years. Why should the President change tack now? He has obviously done things correctly, since the debt burden on Westgate resorts has vanished under his presidency.
He claims that he started his company 42 years ago. What he forgets is that taxes were far higher than they are today. He was able to take advantage of low education costs, programs like the GI bill, new highway building by the government, a far lower ratio of rich to poor. This was a time when most people could aspire to a higher standard of living, unlike what we see today.
He says that he drove an old car, didn’t go to restaurants, worked hard. Far too many of his workers drive an old car because they cant afford anything else, don’t go to restaurants for the same reason, and work hard not to build a business, but because they have no choice.
He seems to believe that only the wealthy work hard. It is the workers that work hard to make him wealthy. He is so arrogant about his own hard work that he cannot see that many of his workers do the same, sometimes with two or more jobs. He probably does not pay overtime, so it does not help them to work longer hours. Even if he does, the wages are so low that it makes not one whit of difference.
He claims that he made sacrifices. Plenty of people make sacrifices, and don’t earn huge returns for doing so. It is just sheer arrogance to believe that he is the only one among his employees that sacrifices; that gives up things for their families. It is this narcissism that induces the wealthy to believe that they earned their wealth and others did not.
He believes that taxes kill businesses. Nonsense. During times when taxes were higher, businesses thrived in America. If you cannot make it without getting a tax bailout, you have no business being in business. Don’t blame your incompetence on the government.
He complains about paying all these taxes, but his workers pay them too, and they don’t whine the way that he does. For them they go into paying for roads, and the electric grid, and a bloated military, education, airports, and ports.
Paying taxes is the price that we all pay to live in a civilized society. If you don’t like it, go and live in Somalia, where they don’t pay tax. I would love to see you survive.
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