Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Published on October 10, 2012 By Draginol In Business

This week, the hard hitting reporters from Gawker bring you:

“The CEO Who Built Himself America’s Largest House Just Threatened to Fire His Employees if Obama’s Elected” [actual headline]

http://gawker.com/5950189/the-ceo-who-built-himself-americas-largest-house-just-threatened-to-fire-his-employees-if-obamas-elected

This bad BAD man also has a LARGE house. What a monster.

[editor’s note: Sure, we could have simply stated that this man sent an email to his employees explaining that if the company’s taxes go up that it will reduce working capital which could result in job cuts but we’re all about the page views]

UPDATE:

Now that everyone has finished writing their hate male to this guy we have the actual email. Unfortunately, it’s long and nuanced so we have taken the liberty of highlighting the parts that should make you very VERY mad.

“Huge mansion. Huge fortune. Profitable company. What could David Siegal have to complain about? Well, the demonization of the 1% by Barack Obama, for one thing. This truly amazing email went out to all Westgate employees yesterday. Bolding is ours.”

Subject: Message from David Siegel
Date:Mon, 08 Oct 2012 13:58:05 -0400 (EDT)
From: [David Siegel]
To: [All employees]

To All My Valued Employees,

As most of you know our company, Westgate Resorts, has continued to succeed in spite of a very dismal economy. There is no question that the economy has changed for the worse and we have not seen any improvement over the past four years. In spite of all of the challenges we have faced, the good news is this: The economy doesn't currently pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is another 4 years of the same Presidential administration. Of course, as your employer, I can't tell you whom to vote for, and I certainly wouldn't interfere with your right to vote for whomever you choose. In fact, I encourage you to vote for whomever you think will serve your interests the best.

However, let me share a few facts that might help you decide what is in your best interest.The current administration and members of the press have perpetuated an environment that casts employers against employees. They want you to believe that we live in a class system where the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. They label us the "1%" and imply that we are somehow immune to the challenges that face our country. This could not be further from the truth. Sure, you may have heard about the big home that I'm building. I'm sure many people think that I live a privileged life. However, what you don't see or hear is the true story behind any success that I have achieved.

I started this company over 42 years ago. At that time, I lived in a very modest home. I converted my garage into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you. We didn't eat in fancy restaurants or take expensive vacations because every dollar I made went back into this company. I drove an old used car, and often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business — hard work, discipline, and sacrifice. Meanwhile, many of my friends got regular jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a nice income, and they spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into this business —-with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford to buy whatever I wanted. Even to this day, every dime I earn goes back into this company. Over the past four years I have had to stop building my dream house, cut back on all of my expenses, and take my kids out of private schools simply to keep this company strong and to keep you employed.

Just think about this – most of you arrive at work in the morning and leave that afternoon and the rest of your time is yours to do as you please. But not me- there is no "off" button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have that freedom. I eat, live, and breathe this company every minute of the day, every day of the week. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. I know many of you work hard and do a great job, but I'm the one who has to sign every check, pay every expense, and make sure that this company continues to succeed. Unfortunately, what most people see is the nice house and the lavish lifestyle. What the press certainly does not want you to see, is the true story of the hard work and sacrifices I've made.

Now, the economy is falling apart and people like me who made all the right decisions and invested in themselves are being forced to bail out all the people who didn't. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed 42 years of my life for. Yes, business ownership has its benefits, but the price I've paid is steep and not without wounds. Unfortunately, the costs of running a business have gotten out of control, and let me tell you why: We are being taxed to death and the government thinks we don't pay enough. We pay state taxes, federal taxes, property taxes, sales and use taxes, payroll taxes, workers compensation taxes and unemployment taxes. I even have to hire an entire department to manage all these taxes. The question I have is this: Who is really stimulating the economy? Is it the Government that wants to take money from those who have earned it and give it to those who have not, or is it people like me who built a company out of his garage and directly employs over 7000 people and hosts over 3 million people per year with a great vacation?

Obviously, our present government believes that taking my money is the right economic stimulus for this country. The fact is, if I deducted 50% of your paycheck you'd quit and you wouldn't work here. I mean, why should you? Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, that's what happens to me.

Here is what most people don't understand and the press and our Government has chosen to ignore – to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Instead of raising my taxes and depositing that money into the Washington black-hole, let me spend it on growing the company, hire more employees, and generate substantial economic growth. My employees will enjoy the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But that is not what our current Government wants you to believe. They want you to believe that it somehow makes sense to take more from those who create wealth and give it to those who do not, and somehow our economy will improve. They don't want you to know that the "1%", as they like to label us, pay more than 31% of all the taxes in this country. Thomas Jefferson, the author of our great Constitution, once said, "democracy" will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."

Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate business, not kill it. However, the power brokers in Washington believe redistributing wealth is the essential driver of the American economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change they want.

So where am I going with all this? It's quite simple. If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current President plans, 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 everyone.

So, when you make your decision to vote, ask yourself, which candidate understands the economics of business ownership and who doesn't? Whose policies will endanger your job? Answer those questions and you should know who might be the one capable of protecting and saving your job. While the media wants to tell you to believe the "1 percenters" are bad, I'm telling you they are not. They create most of the jobs. If you lose your job, it won't be at the hands of the "1%"; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country.

You see, I can no longer support a system that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, so will your opportunities. If that happens, you can find me in the Caribbean sitting on the beach, under a palm tree, retired, and with no employees to worry about.

Signed, your boss,

David Siegel

COMING UP NEXT on “THE BAD BAD CEO”

The BAD BAD CEO who went on a VACATION to a FOREIGN COUNTRY while raising insurance premiums on his employees.

Remember readers: Rich, Successful people are BAD people and we will continue to dig deep to show you just how terrible they are. How dare people start their own businesses and believe they have any rights to express their opinions.  We will continue our hard-hitting reporting that we expect will damage those businesses through ill-informed boycotts by making sensational, irrelevant headlines.


Comments (Page 4)
on Oct 12, 2012

Do you think Romney would ever be able alter the tax code the way his platform suggests? Those loopholes are still there because of the influence that corporations have over our government. I would really like to know if our senate and congress are going to cooperate. It seems like it would take nigh a revolution to remove tax code problems, while tax rates are changed quite easily. To a company, that means loopholes are safer and should be held onto, right?

on Oct 12, 2012

There's a reason Wall street has voted democratic for decades, they're even worse about corporate welfare than the republicans are.  You pay them off and stay in their good graces, and you get all the crony capitalism they can throw your way.

 

Anyone that votes democratic because of corporate welfare has a serious problem with reality.

on Oct 12, 2012

seanw3
Do you think Romney would ever be able alter the tax code the way his platform suggests? Those loopholes are still there because of the influence that corporations have over our government.

I hate the term "loophole"... there are no "holes" written into tax code at behest of lobbyists. lobbyists go for direct cronyism via government funding (celindra, acorn, endowment of the arts, PBS, etc)... Or government mandated monopolies (telcos); tax changes affect everyone so are ineffective and undesired method of cronyism

Those deductions and rebates exist as a means of the government to control companies. So they say "if you do X you get a deduction". And in recent years they have even twisted it such that a "deduction" became a "rebate" that you can get even in excess of what you actually paid.

That is why a car dealer was giving out FREE golf carts (a 4000$ tax rebate when a dealer sells an 100% electric car; and they cost him 3500$ each. He was just handing them out to as many customers as he could find).

Subsidies to farmers are so that they produce more food then they can sell to ensure we have surplus in case of war. Deductions for healthcare/retirement/sensitivity training/etc etc is to make companies give out all those benefits.

Or when they had the cash for clunkers program giving out "rebates" to dealerships for taking in "clunkers" and destroying their engines.

Personally I am all for removing such junk as it ALWAYS has unintended consequences. a few businesses are affected as intended. Most businesses are either given rebates inappropriately (resulting in a case like the car dealership giving out golf carts). Or they are given too little and its not enough to achieve the goal (while the heavier general taxes that accompany it are even counter productive)... like obama's ridiculous "tax rebate for hiring new employees" which was a tiny one time payment that came at the same time as his tax hike from obama(doesn't)care.

on Oct 12, 2012

What surprises me is that no one seems disappointed about an employer trying to coerce/threaten his employers into voting their way.

Sure its a free country and make your opinion known by all means but this seems morally wrong - it should also be a free country to vote the way you want!

I also can't help thinking that the taxes being discussed are on profits, not on turn over. Theoretically for moderate sized companies there is NO need at all to fire anyone because your taxes increased. If you were making a big profit you are now making a slightly smaller one, but still a good profit. If you were making no profit or a loss then increased taxes have no effect on you. In either case you don't have any sudden need to fire people.

Now sure for businesses with very choppy income (eg like Stardock) there can still be timing issues paying taxes on a big profit in one year so for a minority of seasonal businesses an increase in tax rate is a real problem (although even then it averages out in the years where losses are made, the significant problem is having enough reserves from your profits to cover the wait). And for small businesses the profit usually has to pay the owner's salary so if profits drop too much then the owner has the choice of either struggling personally or firing someone so obviously they would pick the latter.

But for big businesses like Siegel's... it is blatant self interest. He wants X million profit per year rather than X-20% million profit and he's prepared to threaten his vastly poorer and more vulnerable employees to get it. Sad.

on Oct 12, 2012

Mistwraithe
What surprises me is that no one seems disappointed about an employer trying to coerce/threaten his employers into voting their way.

What surprises me is it appears to have taken this long for someone to clearly lose the plot.

Increases in a company's running costs, whatever the origin endanger the company's survivability.  A known and entirely LEGITIMATE stop-gap solution is to reduce the company's expenses...one of which is their employment/salary expenditure.

Now, a CEO suggests one tax regime [or another] may affect company viability negatively resulting in redundancies and the entire world comes down on said CEO because he is clearly a bastard that deserves his children be sold into the white slave trade or something.

Come on, kids....this is REAL LIFE 101.....aka 'shit happens'.

EG..... If Stardock's CEO declared 'voting for [insert whatever idiot US govt entity here] willl likely see company redundancies [more-so than another]....."  It's not a political stance...it's a statement of reality.

Like it or not....you can vote for whom-ever you choose, but if a company's viability is affected one way more than another....so be it.

You make your bed...you lie in it.

on Oct 12, 2012

Would it be better if he didn't inform them, and then they still lost their jobs?

Consequences are meant to be the reason you make a decision.  So the more consequences you know ahead of time, the more likely you are to make the right decision.  You can learn what the consequences will be through other people, or through your own experience.  That's why experience is so important - you've been there, and you'll make the right decision next time.

So if the guy threatens them, and says, "I will fire you if you vote for Obama" that would be wrong.  If he says, "Obama is going to raise taxes and therefore I'll have to cut some people to cover it," he's letting them know the consequences ahead of time.  If they all vote for Romney, and Obama gets elected, their jobs are not safe due to their vote.  If they all vote for Obama, and Romney wins and doesn't raise taxes, their jobs are not forfeit due to their vote.

Now, there are a couple reactions to this.  You can believe him, and decide to vote for Romney.  You can believe him, but decide that Obama's policies are still the ones you support, and vote for him.  Or, you can disbelieve him altogether, in which case, you would think he's a liar, and trying to coerce and threaten people into voting for his candidate, or that he's just mistaken and vote for whoever you want without regarding this letter.

Is he a big jerk?  Maybe.  Does that change the truth of this letter?  No.  It still may or may not be true.

If you look at what Obama is proposing, does it look like what he says it is?

Who knows better than the owner how the owner will react to that particular change, that of higher taxes?  You?

So if the one is true, the rest is probably also true, and is just spelling out the consequences of higher taxes (which Obama may or may not be proposing) so that the voters in his company will be better informed.

If the one is not true, then I'd rather believe he was just mistaken, as the contents is more about the consequences for the taxes, not for the vote (though the vote will lead to the higher taxes, if he is correct about Obama's policies).

on Oct 12, 2012

Well lesson learned here in germany : I don't take any tax-related pretences into account with my decision who to vote for. As taxes ALWAYS raise after that, no matter who's in charge.

on Oct 12, 2012

Mistwraithe
What surprises me is that no one seems disappointed about an employer trying to coerce/threaten his employers into voting their way.

1. It is as much "coercing" as when a father says "if you take up jim's offer to run drugs for him you will get involved in bad stuff and could get all of us killed". Is he "coercing" the child not to hang out with jim? No, he is just warning them of very real consequences (or at least what he believes to be the consequences)

2. He said "if taxes go up I will be forced to X" not "if obama is elected I will do X". He BELIEVES that obama will raise taxes and that obama is NOT willing to see reason. But it is not the person elected that he is speaking out against, its taxes and he then ASKS people to think "which president is going to harm my job more".

on Oct 12, 2012

Exactly. If Obama, by some stretch of even my imagination, doesn't raise taxes, no firing. If the hotel business starts picking up and taxes are raised, no firing. He is not saying that electing Obama is the why he would fire people. He is saying that he believe electing Obama will cause a bad situation where he can no longer afford to keep all of his employees. It is only a persuasive message if the reader accepts the premise that Obama will make the hotel business worse. If you think he will do well with a another term, what is the problem? 

on Oct 12, 2012

I kinda think Siegel actually is bullshitting them in large part.  Along with his "I'll retire to a tropical beach" bit he's been saying 2012 is a banner year, so...

 

Then again, he's republican enough that he might close up shop and leave the country just to get away from our commie president.

 

Plenty of people actually will get dumped out of their job though, and not just because of the tax issues.  The regulations being made up by the EPA under the Obama administration are shutting down a whole lot of industry.  The tax concerns are small potatoes next to the regulatory disaster we're in.  They are real however.

 

For all the math fails out there that can't figure out why increased taxes would lead to people getting dropped because it's only taxes on profit, an explanation.

 

Your business is an investment.  It's a certain amount of capital and an ongoing amount of effort, and your reward is the rate of return.  You spend a hundred bucks and get ten bucks a year, your rate of return is 10%.  If you tax half of that, it takes you 20 years to pay off what you've got.  The lower your rate of return, the higher the turnover is on that capital.    You're still making money, so it's true that you don't have to fire people, but if you're interested in making money and not in providing charity for your employees, how high that rate of return is matters.

 

There are alternatives to running a business, you can make 3% just sitting on your ass with it in a savings account.  His margins are probably high enough that alternative investments aren't a factor here, but just think about how much easier it is to not work than it is to work.  With his net worth, 3% just means he needs a slightly smaller mansion.

 

Odds are also very very good that he has largess in his budget.  He can probably trim a few percent off his operating budget and regain that lost margin with increased efficiency.  That few percent will be people for the most part.

 

Profit is not dessert, it's the main course.

on Oct 14, 2012

While I don't agree with everything in this article, it's a fairly well composed op-ed that raises some good points.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/opinion/sunday/the-self-destruction-of-the-1-percent.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&hpw

on Oct 14, 2012

The gulf between the rich and the poor is only going to get larger and larger with more automation and globalization.  I'm not sure how that can be helped.

on Oct 14, 2012

Frogboy
The gulf between the rich and the poor is only going to get larger and larger with more automation and globalization.  I'm not sure how that can be helped.

http://www.economist.com/node/21564556

 

on Oct 14, 2012

Frogboy
The gulf between the rich and the poor is only going to get larger and larger with more automation and globalization.  I'm not sure how that can be helped.

This is not actually true.

Pre Industrialization you had serfs and titled lords. Or titled merchants ("royal company" with government mandated monopoly).

The so called "poor" in america can afford a car, entertainment, video games, computers, and as much food as they want to get obese on.

The constant attempts to cause "fairness" merely cause more automation. A robot will never unionize, sue you, or have government mandated benefits.

Globalization means that countries full of subsistence farming become industrialized.

The so called "robber barons" are real but they are NOT Mitt Romney and his kind (honest businessmen)...

They are the cronies of government. Smaller governments with smaller budgets mean that the government goes a long way towards removing the tools used by corrupt politicians to reward their cronies.

Cronyism causes economic collapse that makes everyone poor.

Interestingly, true capitalism cannot exist in a "hands free" environment as unchecked, the corrupt and ruthless utilize cronyism, and collusion to foster an anti capitalist environment that blocks out competitors.

Regulation should focus on anti-trust laws rather then on dictating every tiny aspect of a business' daily operation.

on Oct 14, 2012

DsRaider
http://www.economist.com/node/21564556 

Interesting. Although it uses the left's propaganda strawmen for the right rather then the right's actual arguments, it does correctly recognize cronyism and monopoly abuse (via anti capitalist behavior, although they do not call them such) as the big issues as well as the fact that 75% tax on "the rich" is excessive. Although it still promotes unfair "progressive" taxes... just ones that are not as extreme.