Commentary — David Siegel, the CEO who made national news after sending a memo in which he threatened to begin firing employees if President Obama was re-elected to a second term, has not fired anyone and in fact has given his staff a raise.
While the words “David Siegel” became synonymous with pre-election Republican intransigence and veiled threats should they not get their way, the eventual outcome should be viewed as a cautionary tale.
Siegel engaged in what has been a large GOP strategy in recent years, notably linked with the rise of the Tea Party — no compromise. What the CEO threatened was to pitch a termination tantrum should he be denied his ultimate course of action, but what happened instead is the real story here. (And as we later learned, the threats were coming from inside the house.)
Ultimately, the strategy of “my way or the highway” seen both in the House and in David Siegel and his ilk’s vocal and overly-entitled threats should be viewed with little attention given and even less credence. Sure, he can fire all his guys if he so pleases, but all it does is tank his business and give him lots of expenses for training.
It is to his credit that Siegel did the right thing, but he didn’t let on until the threat had passed — which should tell us all something about working with Republicans. They may cry loudly and throw their toys, but in the end, they take their medicine.
David Siegel said:
“I don’t know. I’m going to work my hardest to keep the company going and expand the best I can. We’ll see what happens. Meanwhile I gave everybody in the company a raise this week—the average was 5 percent. I wanted to help them handle the additional burdens the government will put on them.”
Noted economist Paul Krugman addressed the “negotiating with extremists” issue in his most recent post-election column, saying that now that We The People have called the bluff of the GOP, President Obama needs to do the same — even if it means risking some of the threats coming to pass.
” … Republicans are trying, for the third time since he took office, to use economic blackmail to achieve a goal they lack the votes to achieve through the normal legislative process. In particular, they want to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, even though the nation can’t afford to make those tax cuts permanent and the public believes that taxes on the rich should go up — and they’re threatening to block any deal on anything else unless they get their way. So they are, in effect, threatening to tank the economy unless their demands are met.”
“Well, this has to stop — unless we want hostage-taking, the threat of making the nation ungovernable, to become a standard part of our political process … So what should he do? Just say no, and go over the cliff if necessary.”
Ultimately, Krugman is right and David Siegel is wrong. And now that the issue of job creators punishing workers for not kowtowing has been put to rest, hopefully we can all get back to the business of fixing America’s economic mess in a more evolved, less playground-inspired way.