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Sanjay Sanghoee Headshot

Reality Check for CEOs Pressuring Workers to Vote for Romney

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Give it a rest.

For one thing, it's almost over and nothing you do now will make a difference to the outcome. Odds are pretty high that your favorite candidate, Mitt Romney, is going to lose, and the other guy will get re-elected. If I were you, I would start lowering the temperature now or risk getting on the bad side of the winner. In and out of the business world, that would be called "suicide" and is just dumb policy.

Secondly, how are you going to even know how your workers really voted? Unless you have spies inside the polling centers (and I don't think even you are capable of sinking that low), your employees can tell you whatever they want and you will have no choice but to believe them. Individual retribution is out of the question since revenge only works when you know who to take revenge on.

The only thing you could do then is make good on your threats to fire your workers, reduce the remaining workers' wages, and cut their benefits. While you are at it, why don't you shoot yourself in the other foot as well, since that is pretty much all you will accomplish by downsizing out of spite for President Obama's re-election? You have businesses to run and that is what you should do. If you don't like the tax regime or the regulations that are imposed to prevent you from exploiting others, then you're very welcome to move your operations to some other part of the world.

Like Europe, which is mired in an even deeper recession than us and where even fewer people will be able to buy your products. Or China, where you will never know when the state will just shut you down or nationalize your assets. Or maybe India, where the bureaucratic red tape will make you wish that you were actually paying double the taxes in the good ol' U.S. of A. So go ahead, give it a try, and we will see how that hopey-changey thing works out for you in those nations.

The reason that sounds harsh is because you are living in a fantasy land of your own making. What you need to understand and accept like adults is that no matter who wins this election, you can bet on one thing -- your taxes will go up. Why? Because we have a severe deficit problem, stupid, and regardless of how much we cut in spending and even if we destroy the entire civilized framework of our great country and let its infrastructure rot to hell, you cannot balance a budget without raising revenues, which means higher taxes for all of us. It's just where we are today, and it's what we need to do to get back on our feet. The only difference is that most ordinary Americans are not whining about it (and certainly not threatening to take it out on others) unlike you. So do us all a favor and man up. It's going to happen and so you may as well make the best of it rather than the worst. If there is one principle that any good businessperson adheres to, it is that when life gives you lemons you make lemonade -- not shut down your stand and go home. That is not patriotism or even capitalism; that is just plain cowardice.

And finally, here is the best part: if by some chance your candidate does win, you can look forward to the building of a national foundation that will almost guarantee the demise of your democracy and free market system in a few decades. Not because of taxation, not because of regulation, but because of the egregious enrichment of a few at the expense of the many, because of a widening income gap that will tear our society apart and eventually bring us to the brink of another French Revolution (which you should remember did not turn out well for your side), and because of the loss of the innovation, humanity, fairness, and genuine opportunity (not the PR nonsense that you put on your website but the type that enabled people to start companies from garages and grow them without the anti-competitive suppression that you see today) and that drove our success for a full century before you decided you preferred an oligarchy instead.

If that is the kind of dystopian America you want to leave for your children and grandchildren, then keep doing what you're doing, but if not, then please stop. Now. Go vote for whoever you want to personally, but please don't pervert the electoral process by forcing others. That is not in anyone's interests and will ultimately harm everyone, including yourselves.

SANJAY SANGHOEE has worked at leading investment banks Lazard Freres and Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein as well as at a multi-billion dollar hedge fund. He has an MBA from Columbia Business School and is the author of a financial thriller, entitled "Merger", which Chicago Tribune called "Timely, Gripping, and Original". Please visit www.sanghoee.com to sign up for updates.