MUST YOU LOSE YOUR JOB
IF OBAMA IS RE-ELECTED?
Mr. David Siegel has made a billion dollars. You may remember him as the man who came to national attention this year when he announced he wanted to build the biggest house in America—a 90,000-square-foot home inspired by Versailles. Follow this link if you think I just made that up.
Now he will be remembered also as the man who sought to persuade his employees to vote against Barack Obama by telling them that some of them would have to be let go if the President is re-elected and raises taxes on the super-rich, as Mr. Obama has said he wants to do to return the U.S. economy to a sound footing.
Mr. Siegel is the founder/owner of a company that leases high-end time-share homes to persons looking to vacation in luxurious surroundings. His company, Westgate Resorts, is based on Florida and is one of the largest, if not the largest, firms of its kind in the world.
A few days ago Mr. Siegel, who employs something like 7,000 people, sent a memo to those who work for them, saying that “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.”
Mr. Siegel presumably feels that an increase in the amount of taxes he pays will affect his overall wealth and his company’s health in such a way that he will have to fire people to maintain things at their present level.
This is a fascinating point of view for a man who was worth, a few years ago, a billion dollars. Perhaps he might choose to not seek to complete the building of the Biggest House in America (did you follow the link and look at the picture of what he wants to create?) and take some of that money and make it available to his employees, so that he doesn’t have to fire them because he is paying more taxes.
Mr. Siegel, in his memo, asked his employees how they would like it if they had to pay 50% of what they earned in taxes. Wouldn’t that be a disincentive? Wouldn’t that take the wind out of their sails, and the oomph out of their desire to work as hard as they are now?
Well, it might if their annual income was $50,000 or $75,000 or $100,000. It might even if their income was $200,000. But would it if their annual income was 50 or 75 or 100 million? I mean, how much is enough? If you were earning $50,000,000 a year and you thought that using half of it to help those who are less fortunate, by funding through your taxes government programs designed for that purpose, was being asked of you, would you say, “No! I have to earn as much of that $50-million as I can! You don’t understand! I’ve got a 90,000-square foot house to finish building!”
Indeed, the central question before humanity at this point in our history is: How much is enough? Before I start giving back…yes, even if I have to give back half…how much do I need to make just to keep for myself? Five Million? Ten? Fifty? A hundred million?
Now you might argue, “But I shouldn’t have to give any of it back. It’s mine. I earned it, with the sweat of my own brow. And I did it all by myself. Nobody else helped me. None of my employees helped me. None of my customers helped me. I got no help or incentives or tax write-offs in any form from my government. I did it all alone, all by myself. This country was built on freedom. I should not have to give half of it back to the government to help the Have-Not’s. They can go out and make their own hundred million, just like I did!”
You might argue that. In fact, that is essentially what Mr. Siegel was arguing when he sent his memo to his employees a few days ago. In that memo, he gave a name to those who his tax dollars would be helping. He called them: “the unproductive.” (Check the last paragraph of his memo.)
Here is the full text of that memo, as posted at Gawker.com. Give it a read, then leave any comment you may have below.
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,
I can totally understand how Mr. Siegel’s “motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed” if his only motivation has to do with his income. But what if his motivation has to do with making the lives of others better? What if that was, in fact, his prime motivation…not merely a secondary outcome? And that, my dears, is the difference between a person who is motivated by humanity’s Old Cultural Story and a person who is motivated by our New Cultural Story.
A person whose prime motivation is generated by The New Spirituality could probably find a way to keep his plant or his office open, and everyone there fully employed, and somehow get by on half of his multi-million-dollar-a-year income.