Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Maybe He Was Wrong?

Ken O’Brien

During the 2012 presidential race, something you may still remember, wealthy Florida real estate person David Siegel got a bit of notoriety for sending his Westgate Resorts employees a maudlin form letter. He noted that while he couldn't "tell you whom to vote for," their jobs would be "endanger"-ed if the cruel President Barack Obama was not unseated by fellow wealthy person Mitt Romney. The ostensible cause was that his fragile empire could not possibly stand another four years of the sort of deeply onerous taxes that Siegel imagined Obama had been imposing, and that if he was going to be taxed anymore he was going to close his company and go be rich on a Caribbean beach.

Alas, his efforts were in vain. Barack Obama did indeed win re-election, ushering in the dark and communist-ish hellscape Siegel had envisioned.

Just over two years after penning that company-wide email, Siegel informed Westgate employees that instead of layoffs, he would boost their minimum wage to $10 per hour beginning in 2015.

In fact, according to Siegel, 2014 was a banner year. “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,” Siegel said in announcing the wage hike. He also recently told the Orlando Business Journal that “things have never been better.” [...]

Despite writing in 2012 that any tax increases on the wealthy would mean job losses — “Rather than grow this company I will be forced to cut back,” he said at the time — Siegel has been extraordinarily successful growing Westgate in the two years since taxes were modestly increased on the wealthy. In 2014 alone, Siegel and Westgate bought a hotel in Las Vegas for $180 million, began constructing a new $11 million retail center in Orlando, and purchased the Cocoa Beach Pier. Siegel also acquired the Orlando Predators Arena Football team and continued constructing his 90,000 square-foot mansion, which will be the biggest in America once completed.

Of course, Siegel isn’t the only conservative to predict economic doom if Obama won re-election. Among others were Mitt Romney, who argued that unemployment would be stuck above eight percent, and Donald Trump, who foresaw a crash in the stock market. Since November 2012, the unemployment rate has dropped to 5.8 percent while the stock market has jumped 4,500 points to record highs.

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