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Milwaukee manufacturer joins chorus of doom if President Obama is re-elected


MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - The owner of a Milwaukee industrial equipment maker has joined other U.S. employers in telling their workers what might happen to them if President Obama gets re-elected.

The Journal Sentinel’s Web site posted an e-mail Thursday from Mike White, chairman of Rite-Hite. He said he respects his employees’ right to vote as they choose – but White told them to think carefully about their vote in order to, “protect the business you have helped build.”

Unlike some employers, White did not threaten layoffs if the president wins.

Westgate Resorts’ CEO David Siegel has said that if taxes are raised, “I will have no choice but to reduce the size” of his luxury resort business.

CEO’s for Koch Industries, Murray Energy, and ASG Software have also told their employees the possible consequences of an Obama victory. And the political Web site “The Nation” said the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has started a campaign to have companies include political statements in pay envelopes – including who not to vote for.

The U.S. Supreme Court allowed such activity in its “Citizens United” decision – the one that legalized corporate involvement in politics.

According to “The Nation,” companies used to be limited to encouraging civic participation – but now, they can make political appeals in the workplace for specific candidates. 

White said his Milwaukee firm could not reinvest its profits if Obama’s re-elected. His memo said they would go to, “the abyss that is Washington D.C.”

White also said his employees’ retirement would be at risk, because company contributions would end. And he said Rite-Hite might have to drop its health insurance, because employees would find it cheaper to go into a government plan under the Obama health reforms.

White also tried to dispel the notion that his firm pays 17 percent in taxes, “as Warren Buffett would have you believe.” He said it’s more like 45 percent in federal and state taxes – and it could go as high as 65 percent if Obama wins.