In a June 6 conference call with the National Federation of Independent Business, GOP candidate Mitt Romney urged businessmen and women to tell their employees how to vote. That practice was illegal until the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Since then, more and more employers have been threatening their workers’ livelihoods and pensions, depending on the election’s outcome. The following imagines such a letter from a Roanoke company president. It originally ran on this blog Oct. 19.
Dear valued employee of Roanoke Widget Co.,
Thank you for being part of a wonderful team. The past five years have certainly been trying, but you have helped keep this company in business. We are seeing record profits, just like many other American corporations.
How did we do that? Let us count the ways:
First, we laid off 40 percent of our work force. (Accounting was the only department where we added people, to help tally all those extra profits we made by slashing payroll). If you are receiving this email, it means you’re one of the lucky 60 percent that kept his or her job. Congratulations!
That doesn’t mean you didn’t get the shaft, of course. You remaining workers have had to pick up the slack for the boneheads we axed. Meanwhile, we cancelled all overtime — overtime pay, I mean. Comp time? Ha! Just try it!
And don’t you dare report us to the Wage & Hour board, unless you want to join your former colleagues over at the unemployment office. Grousers, we know you griped to your congressman, state senator and state delegate. Do you think they care? They’re our guys — not yours, you fools. They told us all about your complaints.
Second, your wages have been frozen since 2007. Well, not exactly. During that time we increased workers’ cost of health insurance while at the same time we have lowered the benefits. We blamed this little trick on “Obamacare,” ho, ho. But the reality is, it saved us millions.
Yes, we have heard some of you muttering this amounts to “back door” pay cuts. That’s true. We know who you cynics are, and soon, you won’t have to fret about any more “back door” cuts to your salaries. You’ll be heading out the front door, ha, ha.
It’s no exaggeration to say the outcome is very important to the owners of Roanoke Widget. If the current administration returns to office, we’ll be forced to cease our operations.
That means you won’t have a job. So if you want to keep yours, you better darn well vote for Mitt Romney.
Why are we doing this? We place the blame on “burdensome regulations,” but the real reason is a little more complicated. Yes, we’re making records profits, and this company has never been stronger financially.
The bottom line is, we’re doing it out of spite.
We Roanoke Widget owners simply hate President Obama. We believe he’s a communist, and that if he’s re-elected he will nationalize our widget operation. The 2013 Obama government will seize all the company’s assets. So we’re going to beat him to the punch. We’ll shut down, move the assets overseas, out of the government’s reach.
You may be wondering what us owners will do without all that corporate income we’ve been raking in for the last four years.
The answer is simple. Some of us will be vacationing on our new yachts. Others will be bottom feeding on rental real estate — have you notice how much rents have soared lately? Of course you have. Most of you hourly slobs are renters.
The truth is, all your hard work in the past four years has helped us amass quite a bankroll. We could have used that to hire back many laid-off workers. But in the short-term, that would have aided the nation’s economic recovery. And that would be against our long-term interests.
Our bankroll is so big right now that we owners could conservatively invest it and earn the same amount in dividends and capital gains. And that’s what we plan to do if Obama is re-elected.
Not only are tax rates lower on those forms of income, but cashing dividend checks is a lot easier than it is to get out of bed, hop in our Cadillacs and drive down to this plant. Where we listen to you ungrateful wretches mutter about how you’ve been treated unfairly.
You probably wonder why we won’t shut down if Romney wins. The answer is simple. With him in office, we can make even more money. Our taxes will be cut (yours will probably be raised though). Besides that, we expect the new administration will swiftly outlaw unions and repeal other socialist-inspired legislation that has hurt our nation for decades. Such as child-labor laws.
With those gone, we can get even tougher with you. You think losing your pensions two years ago was bad? Under President Romney, we might cut health insurance altogether, or replace you higher-wage workers with lower-cost (and healthier) kids. Your paid vacation may be history. By squeezing you further, we’ll make more money off your labor than we would if we invested our bankroll and sat on our asses.
You may be wondering how we’ll know if you voted the right way in the Nov. 6 election. That’s probably because you naively believe your ballots are secret.
That used to be true, back with the old curtain-style voting booths. But it isn’t the case any longer, now that Diebold and a few other computer-voting machines pretty much control the market. Technology is a wonderful thing, eh?
So have a great Nov. 6. Remember who butters your bread. And make sure you’re not late to work that day, or that you try to get out early so you can go vote.
Unless you sign an oath that you’ll vote for Mitt, of course. In that case we’ll bus you to the polls and give you beer to drink on the ride. For which you will be paid, of course. At overtime rates!
See you at the mandatory employee assembly Nov. 7 — where you’ll find out if you still have a job.
The Roanoke Widget Company President