In the past week or so we've heard of several instances where employees in large corporations have been strongly encouraged to vote for Mitt Romney instead of Barack Obama by their employers, who have "warned them of the consequences for them" should Romney lose the election. First it was Koch Industries, then Florida billionaire David Siegel, CEO of Westgate Resorts, followed by Arthur Allen, CEO of ASG Software Solutions.
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), a lobbying group for "small businesses," is the latest to push voting for Romney, but this time, businesses were instructed to vote for Romney, by Mitt Romey himself.
Back in June Romney addressed employers how to vote in an audio address posted on the NFIB website. In the address, Romney can be heard telling them how "bad for business" Obama's policies are, how it's perfectly legal for them to tell their employees how to vote, and provided them with the talking points to do so.
From In These Times: (Emphasis mine)
Romney was addressing a group of self-described "small-business owners." Twenty-six minutes into the call, after making a lengthy case that President Obama's first term has been bad for business, Romney said:
I hope you make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections. And whether you agree with me or you agree with President Obama, or whatever your political view, I hope, I hope you pass those along to your employees.
Nothing illegal about you talking to your employees about what you believe is best for the business, because I think that will figure into their election decision, their voting decision and of course doing that with your family and your kids as well.
I particularly think that our young kids--and when I say young, I mean college-age and high-school age--they need to understand that America runs on a strong and vibrant business [sic] ... and that we need more business growing and thriving in this country. They need to understand that what the president is doing by borrowing a trillion dollars more each year than what we spend is running up a credit card that they’re going to have to pay off and that their future is very much in jeopardy by virtue of the policies that the president is putting in place. So I need you to get out there and campaign.
You can listen to the audio here.
The NFIB is well known in Florida politics. I've written before how they were behind the push back against the Affordable Care Act when they joined the lawsuit started by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum as co-plaintiff in May of 2010, and they endorsed McCollum's replacement Pam Bondi, who continued to fight the ACA all the way to the Supreme Court.
Of course the NFIB are big fans of Florida Governor "Run-Florida-Like-A-Business" Rick Scott and they make no secret of that. Here's some of what they say about Scott on their website:
He’s [Scott] urged lawmakers to reform the state’s unemployment insurance system, demanded that government workers contribute to their own retirement benefits that are now funded solely by taxpayers and called for lawsuit reform.
Your efforts to elect NFIB-supported pro-small-business candidates last year helped elect governors who are shaking things up in their state houses. We’ll soon share the progress being made by Alabama’s Robert Bentley, Maine’s Paul LePage, Michigan’s Rick Snyder, Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett, South Carolina’s Nikki Haley, Tennessee’s Bill Haslam and Virginia’s Robert McDonnell. They’re also working to hang out “Open for Small Business” signs.
Also on that website is their list of candidates they've endorsed for the upcoming Florida House and Senate races, because their "priorities align with those of the small-business community, and we’re confident they will be effective allies to our members in the fight to create jobs and improve the economy." They also endorsed Florida U.S. Senate candidate Connie Mack IV in September, and have run ads in the state targeting the Senate race.
What are the chances that Florida businesses are following Mitt Romney's instructions to urge their employees to vote for him, in the best interest of their employer, rather than themselves?
Probably a pretty good chance, because during and since the ACA fight, the NFIB have been recipients of millions in funding from Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, and from the Koch brothers group Americans For Prosperity. Employees who vote in favor of these groups and Romney, who vows to repeal the ACA, will make it so much easier for their bosses to cut costs like employee health care plans. The NFIB is also involved in fights against minimum wage, paid sick leave, and collective bargaining. They're anti-union and anti-regulation.
We've already seen the bully-businessman tactics of Mitt Romney on full display, especially in last night's debate. He's a man who is used to getting his way, and can get ugly when he doesn't. The Republican Party who didn't want him as a candidate in the beginning have certainly warmed to his no-core, ruthless, anything for profit policies since then.
Are Floridians also being pushed by their employers and the candidate himself to vote for Mitt Romney, or "face the consequences?"
That's aside from the consequences of facing a future of working longer hours for less pay, no paid sick leave, no unions, and no benefits like health care, or losing their job entirely when it's outsourced, should Romney win?
As Romney himself would say: "Want to make a $10,000 bet" that they are?