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 6)
on Oct 15, 2012

taltamir

Quoting Alstein, reply 72I'm taking Brad's assumption that we are in a global race to the bottom, and there's nothing the market can do about it.   Governments can redistribute wealth.  Flat out , handouts and redistribution is what is needed to compensate for this race to the bottom.

We aren't in a race for the bottom. Humanity as a whole is improved via automation.

And in a hypothetical race to the bottom flat out handouts and redistribution causes producers to RELOCATE to other countries. you CANNOT have a sustainable welfare state that isn't also a prison state. (see iron curtain)

I think, wage-wise, labor costs are in a race to the bottom because of global competition.  You can't demand $30 an hour to put a windwhield wiper on a car anymore.

on Oct 15, 2012

Only in a local scale. In global terms you are reducing wealth inequality via outsourcing.

Those nations it is outsourced to are the poorest in the world and their poor are much poorer than our poor. And via outsourcing we finance their industrialization. Eventually they become industrialized and it no longer makes sense to outsource to them.

That is true in the global sense.  But I think Alstein is talking about the United States.  Globalization levels the playing field quite a bit but there are consequences to this.

on Oct 15, 2012

Alstein
What good is technology if the impact makes people's lives worse instead of better?

It makes people lives better but luddites like to claim otherwise in order to promote their agenda or their misguided theories disconnected from reality.

Alstein
There is a lot of outrage over the bank bailouts, they are the one bailout I opposed, as I think banks in this country (and worldwide it's worse than the US) are too big.  I'd actually go back to the old days and ban interstate banking if I could.

The funny thing is, the banks did not want to make those loans to begin with and were FORCED to do so by the government in order to ensure "fairness" by "giving poor people the american dream of owning a house".

Well ok... there was actually a carrot and a stick and SOME backs tried to avoid it while others ran foaming at the mouth towards the carrot. Those who tried to avoid it were punished until they complied.

However, the bailout as written and executed were bad. They were simply a blank check instead of an investigation of what losses happened, where, when, and why.

on Oct 15, 2012

FallingStar0280

Per the CEO's letter, I think he stepped in it, but the headline is sensationalized.  Writing a letter tying your employee's job security to performing actions outside the business probably isn't the best idea.

I agree.  I don't have an issue with people making a lot of money for a great idea or working hard.  I have an issue with people who make a lot of money through unethical reasons or by obviously screwing others over.

My issue is when the average worker sees their paycheck bottom-out for decades or shrink despite great productivity, while the company's profits skyrocket.  You wouldn't think we were experiencing a recession if you look at the profits of many of our top companies over the past half-decade.  My issues is with the people who declare they have no money to honor previous promises to workers, while flying around in private jets funded by the company.

A little honesty is hard to come by these days.

All productivity and talent being equal, to me, the mark of a good leader is one who lets his bottom line take a hit before his workers.  If a leader reaps the most when the fields are full, he/she should lose the most when the fields are barren.  Examples like this http://www.dailytech.com/Lenovo+CEO+Gives+His+3+Million+USD+Bonus+to+10000+Employees/article25227.htm are what makes me decide where, and for whom, to work.

on Oct 15, 2012

Frogboy

Quoting taltamir, reply 76
Quoting Alstein, reply 72I'm taking Brad's assumption that we are in a global race to the bottom, and there's nothing the market can do about it.   Governments can redistribute wealth.  Flat out , handouts and redistribution is what is needed to compensate for this race to the bottom.

We aren't in a race for the bottom. Humanity as a whole is improved via automation.

And in a hypothetical race to the bottom flat out handouts and redistribution causes producers to RELOCATE to other countries. you CANNOT have a sustainable welfare state that isn't also a prison state. (see iron curtain)

I think, wage-wise, labor costs are in a race to the bottom because of global competition.  You can't demand $30 an hour to put a windwhield wiper on a car anymore.

This is true, but then it brings up the argument: is somebody who puts a windshield wiper on a car worth $30/hour?  I say no.

on Oct 15, 2012

Frogboy



Only in a local scale. In global terms you are reducing wealth inequality via outsourcing.

Those nations it is outsourced to are the poorest in the world and their poor are much poorer than our poor. And via outsourcing we finance their industrialization. Eventually they become industrialized and it no longer makes sense to outsource to them.


That is true in the global sense.  But I think Alstein is talking about the United States.  Globalization levels the playing field quite a bit but there are consequences to this.

 

If you look at standard economic theories, the net result would be that the US would go down to the global mean, maybe slightly above, but it would be a drastic reduction in our living standards- I think most of the American public, if given the choice between seeing what they would lose, and basically screwing the world over, they'd screw the world over in a heartbeat. 

 

The only thing that could prevent this future from being harmful that could occur from market processes would be a massive technological boom, which could happen, but is very unpredictable- and it would take something like fusion power to do this.

 

The thing is globalization has weakened the rule of law in general, and is allowing for global wealth inequality.   I wish we had a stronger trade organization that could enforce labor protections and sanction companies instead of countries.

 

Frogboy

Quoting Alstein, reply 73I'm taking Brad's assumption that we are in a global race to the bottom, and there's nothing the market can do about it.   Governments can redistribute wealth.  Flat out , handouts and redistribution is what is needed to compensate for this race to the bottom.




Why? Why are hand outs a good thing? Are you suggesting that simply being born in the United States entitles you to the earnings of your fellow citizen?

 

You may be philosophically opposed to this, I'm not really super in favor of this, but I'm thinking it might be necessary given the alternatives.  


People need a purpose. Someone without a job getting hand outs won't stop the revolution or whatever it is you are trying to prevent.  


We are heading to a society where fewer people need to be employed.   People do need to consume/be happy, and they need to feel invested in society, otherwise they will act in their economic interests and act outside of society.


I'm not sure if people need to "consume" to be happy. In fact, studies indicate that's not the case at all.  What people need is a purpose. And if they don't have a purpose (like a job) they will find something else, something more violent possibly, to be their purpose.  

Giving people cash won't make them feel invested in society.



 What good is technology if the impact makes people's lives worse instead of better?

I agree - consumption (getting gadgets and such) won't make your life "Better". It'll increase your standard of living but it won't bring happiness or purpose to someone.  And if they don't feel like they have a vested interest in society, they'll destroy it eventually (which is what I think you're suggesting).

The problem is, you can't just give people money and expect that will satisfy them. People will still feel powerless and purposeless and that is what will lead to the downfall of a society if we don't address it.

 

As for whether being a citizen entitles you to your fellow man's efforts, it may not be entitled, but it's better than the alternative.  There is no perfect system.  My argument is that handouts aren't necessarily a good thing, but they may be a necessary thing, as compared to the alternative.  Massive wealth inequality is always one of the first steps towards a national decline: This has been true from Rome to Constantinople to Versailles to Berlin to modern times.

 

I think you're making a fundamental assumption here that I don't agree with one bit.  You're assuming that people need a paying job in order to have a purpose.  It's likely that without the need for a job, folks can find their purpose in other ways.   Money provides security not satisfaction to most folks, and it has declining marginal value for most folks, as it is a good.  (However, there are some folks who view money as their score, and that's fundamentally irrational)

 

 

 

on Oct 15, 2012

Alstein
If you look at standard economic theories, the net result would be that the US would go down to the global mean, maybe slightly above, but it would be a drastic reduction in our living standards-

Only in the very short term. In the long term it would mean a higher standard of living.

Not RELATIVE quality of life, but absolute. The gap wouldn't be as big between an american and an african but both would be better off (the same way a middle class person today is better off than a king in the middle ages).

And your proposed solution of redistribution merely WORSEN things for the americans because it drives out the top produces... Or forces it to become a prison state to prevent that.

Alstein
My argument is that handouts aren't necessarily a good thing, but they may be a necessary thing

And this argument is simply wrong as I have repeatedly pointed out. Prison states, relocation of producers, etc etc.

Massive wealth inequality is always one of the first steps towards a national decline: This has been true from Rome to Constantinople to Versailles to Berlin to modern times.

Your examples are simply not true.

The only way "wealth inequality" could possibly relate to national decline is by being used as ammunition by demagogues extolling wealth redistribution programs.

The term wealth inequality in of itself is stupid as I have repeatedly pointed out, dollar differences and quality of life are not the same. And furthermore, there are various CAUSES of said gaps. Cronyism absolutely causes national decline and cronyism also causes great "wealth inequality"... By using the term "wealth inequality" you lump together the cronies who HARM the nation and the economy and the PRODUCERS who HELP the nation and the economy.

Then as a result those who brandish about the term "wealth inequality" start putting in place programs to ensure fairness and equality which drive out or stamp out the producers while vastly increasing the amount of cronyism.

on Oct 15, 2012

Gammit10


All productivity and talent being equal, to me, the mark of a good leader is one who lets his bottom line take a hit before his workers.  If a leader reaps the most when the fields are full, he/she should lose the most when the fields are barren.  Examples like this http://www.dailytech.com/Lenovo+CEO+Gives+His+3+Million+USD+Bonus+to+10000+Employees/article25227.htm are what makes me decide where, and for whom, to work.

Certainly the conditions on the ground at the time help determine the decision tree CEOs have.

As a capitalist pig, I am very much against the government taking the position "at a certain point, you've made enough money." But as a private citizen, I certainly feel that way personally - I work for "free" at Stardock (i.e. I don't take a salary, dividends or disbursements) other than health insurance.  That way, every cent is available for new projects, employee bonuses, new equipment, etc.

But I wouldn't want the government to decide that for me.

on Oct 15, 2012

Gammit10
All productivity and talent being equal, to me, the mark of a good leader is one who lets his bottom line take a hit before his workers.

And then they go out of business and everyone gets fired, or they get acquired in a hostile takeover and the new owners fire people. One time non-binding bonuses aside this is what will always happen over the long time. Business is by nature a Darwinian struggle where only the most profitable survive, and that's a good thing because that's how we get innovation, efficiency, and growth. There are of course companies like Apple and Stardock that can have differentiated products and thus have some room to maneuver, but not a lot as Apple still uses Foxconn.

Having useless people employed hurts not only the business owners but also everyone who uses their products. An increase in productivity due to technology or reorganization is a good thing even if someone gets fired because they can be reemployed and everyone else can produce more then before, which makes everyone better off.

Alstein
If you look at standard economic theories, the net result would be that the US would go down to the global mean, maybe slightly above, but it would be a drastic reduction in our living standards- I think most of the American public, if given the choice between seeing what they would lose, and basically screwing the world over, they'd screw the world over in a heartbeat.

Stop demonizing free trade and globalization. Poorer countries are growing richer, richer countries aren't growing poorer. The only negative effect of it is increased commodity prices that can increase living costs globally. America also sells tons and tons goods and services to other countries, which were jobs that didn't exist before. The richer those countries get the more jobs get created. Does the existence of a rich western Europe make America poorer? No. I hate to break it to you Americans but the only reason you have been able to spend the way you have is because you borrow from China and Japan, without them you would have sunk long ago. Outsourcing is a distraction from real issues. Manufacturing will never again regain it's old glory as the main source of employment. Even cheap labor in China is starting to be replaced by robots. The simple fact is that we are moving towards a new economic structure more focused on services because we don't need that many people in manufacturing to produce the goods we need. Get used to it, short of becoming luddite communists that ship has sailed. 

Wealth distribution has so many negative side effects it's ridiculous. In every age there is always a vocal group who think the answer to every problem is for a strong government to take other peoples stuff and give it to them. I suggest taking a close look at Greece, and France's future. That's what happens when governments play the control the market so everyone gets high paying jobs game. Wealth distribution is a poisonous band aid, eventually markets will readjust and fix themselves. Workers will learn the new skills necessary in the new economy and find employment in new growing sectors where they are needed and can actually earn decent wages instead of being subsidized by the government to stand around being useless. True the transition is painful and not everyone will be able to acquire the needed skills but the economy will adjust. I also posted an article earlier that featured real solutions.

on Oct 15, 2012

Frogboy
Certainly the conditions on the ground at the time help determine the decision tree CEOs have.

As a capitalist pig, I am very much against the government taking the position "at a certain point, you've made enough money." But as a private citizen, I certainly feel that way personally - I work for "free" at Stardock (i.e. I don't take a salary, dividends or disbursements) other than health insurance.  That way, every cent is available for new projects, employee bonuses, new equipment, etc.

But I wouldn't want the government to decide that for me.

And when the government decides that for you, you leave. And to stop you from leave they erect an Iron Curtain or equivalent.

My friend's uncle is a medical doctor in Cuba, he is not allowed to exit the country for any reason (such as to visit his relatives in america) because they know he would not return if allowed to leave.

And if you are an intelligent young wo/man, why would you want to put the effort to become a doctor in such a nation?

on Oct 16, 2012

Frogboy

Quoting Alstein, reply 73 I'm taking Brad's assumption that we are in a global race to the bottom, and there's nothing the market can do about it.   Governments can redistribute wealth.  Flat out , handouts and redistribution is what is needed to compensate for this race to the bottom.

Why? Why are hand outs a good thing? Are you suggesting that simply being born in the United States entitles you to the earnings of your fellow citizen?

Some interesting arguments. No one seems to have answered Frogboy's question above though about WHY hand outs or striving for at least a modicum of equality is a good idea. There are moral arguments but more importantly there are strong selfish arguments that the wealthy need to ensure the poor have opportunities, work (even if it isn't work that is particularly productive) and basic living requirements (eg water, food, shelter and in modern society this probably includes electricity and other modern 'needs').

Because if the imbalance between the haves and have nots gets too big then you will eventually have revolution or civil war. With the power the press (controlled by the wealthy) has today maybe it could be staved off for a good while but if you follow Frogboy's logic to its natural conclusion and say that hand outs are bad then there will eventually be a major uprising as people start to starve.

Maybe the wealthy could win that revolution. With sufficient robotics and if they can retain control of the military then it is distinctly possible that sometime in the not too distant future the rich could defeat an uprising by half the country. But is this really the best direction to head? Into class warfare and hope your class wins and that you can live with yourself afterwards?

on Oct 16, 2012

you CANNOT have a sustainable welfare state that isn't also a prison state.

 

What about Sweden?

on Oct 16, 2012

llamabeast
What about Sweden?

It's full of Swedes? ....

on Oct 16, 2012

Must be pretty swede to live there.

Also, prison state.

on Oct 16, 2012

Mistwraithe
Some interesting arguments. No one seems to have answered Frogboy's question above though about WHY hand outs or striving for at least a modicum of equality is a good idea.

I answered his question, but my answer was different then yours.

What about Sweden?

There are a LOT of countries... every time someone brings up some shining model of a country (that they themselves typically don't live in) and I have to start researching another country and see identical results.

My knowledge of sweden before was limited to its very strong banking system with its secrecy and willingness to act as a tax shelter.

But from a quick search around about the current status I found on that sweden has been in a decline due to those socialist policies (raising taxes, "progressive" taxation, welfare). And that they have reversed course with slashing of taxes and spending (slashing welfare) which resulted in their economy improving despite the worldwide recession (an economy that was on a decline before due to high taxes and socialist programs)

A few interesting reads:

http://super-economy.blogspot.com/2011/01/moderate-tax-sweden.html - these charts tell it all

http://www.tradingeconomics.com/sweden/government-debt-to-gdp

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-05/view-sweden-shows-europe-how-to-cut-debt.html

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