Many business leaders made it no secret that they hated Barack Obama, and wanted to see him defeated in the 2008 election. A lot of those same leaders were back out on the campaign trail in 2012, stumping for Mitt Romney. Now, at least one of President Obama’s most vocal critics in the business community is reaping the rewards of the Obama presidency.
David Siegel, who owns Westgate Resorts, the country’s largest time share developer, has been among the most vehement critics of the president, and Democrats in general, over the years. Siegel told Business Week in 2012 that he believes he was the reason George W. Bush was elected.
Whenever I saw a negative article about [Al] Gore, I put it in with the paychecks of my 8,000 employees. I had my managers do a survey on every employee. If they liked Bush, we made them register to vote. But not if they liked Gore. The week before [the election] we made 80,000 phone calls through my call center—they were robo-calls. On Election Day, we made sure everyone who was voting for Bush got to the polls.
Siegel took his anti-Democratic scheming to new heights in the 2012 election. In an email, Siegel informed employees that,
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.
The email goes on to say that while he can’t tell them who to vote for, all Westgate employees should be aware that he had been forced to make sacrifices over the first four years of the Obama administration. He cries about how he works 24/7 while his employees are at home enjoying time off, and how it simply wasn’t right for the government to take more of his money. He concludes the email with this:
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.
Two years later, David Siegel is singing a different tune.
Since the 2012 election David Siegel has had to endure the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, the implementation of Obamacare, and the continuing of federal regulations on business. So, are all Westgate employees looking for other work? Not exactly.
The Orlando Sentinel reports Siegel announced last October that the minimum wage for Westgate employees would go to $10 an hour starting January 1, 2015. Siegel announced in a press release,
We’re experiencing the best year in our history and I wanted to do something to show my gratitude for the employees who make that possible. [Emphasis added]
The press release also says that the company would be awarding merit pay for all eligible employees. Think Progress reports that, instead of seeing his prediction that a modest tax increase on the rich would destroy jobs come true, Siegel’s company has continued to expand. Westgate purchased a Las Vegas hotel for $180 million. The company also bought the Cocoa Beach Pier, in Florida, and began construction on an $11 million retail center in Orlando. Siegel also bought the Orlando Predators arena football team, and continued on the construction of his 90,000 square foot mansion, which will be the biggest home in the country when finished.
As Think Progress recently observed, none of the right’s economic predictions about a second Obama term have come true.
- Gas was supposed to cost over $5 a gallon. (The national average is currently $2.19 a gallon)
- Unemployment was supposed to remain over eight percent. (As of the last official report, it’s at 5.8 percent)
- The stock market was supposed to crash. (It is currently more than double where it was when President Obama took office, and 4,000 points higher than it was on the last business day before his second inauguration)
- The entire U.S. economy was supposed to collapse. (It grew at a rate of 5 percent during the third quarter of 2014)
So, could someone tell us again why we should listen to the “captains of industry” like David Siegel? It looks like they’re trashing Obama policies, while at the same time laughing all the way to the bank.
Image via Political Down and Dirty