I’m sure Bernie Sanders fancies himself a tough guy. After all, he went to the House of Mouse on Tuesday and dissed the Big D, the Walt Disney Co., or as he calls it, “Disney corporation.”
“I’m probably the only politician to come to Anaheim and say this,” Sanders said, puffing his chest. “I use Disney not to pick on Disney but as an example of what we are talking about when we talk about a rigged economy.”
All Sanders really conveyed with his speech, however, was just how Looney Tunes his economic ideas really are.
He started off his stump speech by framing the standard Socialist complaint, in which the poor are oppressed and big business, which supplies jobs, is evil.
Sanders said: “Here in Anaheim and the surrounding areas, Disney pays its workers wages that are so low that many of them are forced to live in motels because they can’t afford a decent place to live. Meanwhile Disney made a record-breaking profit of nearly $3 billion last quarter.”
It’s hard to imagine in the 21st century a big California town so upside down that motels are cheaper than apartments or rented rooms at a real house, but this is Bernie’s Marxist fantasy, so I’ll let him tell it.
To make sure the audience understood that Disney is E-vil, capital E, he then whipped out Exhibit A, the replacement of 250 hard-working Americans at Disney World with low-wage “furriners” via H1-B visas: “At the other side of the world, in Florida, Disney replaced 250 workers with foreign workers using the H1-B visa program. They had tech workers train the people that were replacing them!” (There are workers, then there are foreign workers. And they say Trump is appealing to racism? Hello?)
Then enter the villain, CEO Robert Iger, who made $46.5 million in 2014, as Sanders said.
Boo. Hiss. Hurled popcorn.
Sanders’ picture is, of course, crafted to sell his Marxist revolution, which is different from every previous Marxist revolution because … Bernie! Just like Barack Obama promised “fundamental change,” and it was a good thing because … Barack Hussein Obama, mmm, mmm, mmm! “We need a political revolution” — that was Bernie who said that, peddling the same baloney that hasn’t worked since 1848.
Full disclosure, Berniebots. No post-election pretend shocked disavowals allowed.
There are some obvious departures from reality in Bernie’s scene-setting.
The glaring one is that minimum-wage or near-minimum-wage jobs are not supposed to become careers. If you can’t make it on your pay, do what everyone else has to do: find a better job, get more education, cut your living expenses, get a second job, marry a wealthy ketchup heiress — whatever it takes. No one ever promised you a rose garden who wasn’t an economically illiterate Liberal.
Don’t go whining to government about your own incompetency and stomping around town with your sign demanding pay for ride operators that’s on par with highly trained professionals. Pay differences between entry-level, zero-skill jobs and the sort of jobs that require a bachelor’s degree or higher are not signs of a “rigged economy” as Sanders puts it. They are signs of an economy where people can hope to be paid what they’re worth, and the upper limit of that worth is up to each responsible individual to determine.
Then there’s the replacement of “workers with foreign workers,” which is about as jingoistic, protectionist and racist a way as you could put it, according to the standards laid out in the Left’s own countless diatribes against the Right. What’s good for the goose is good for the trans-gander, I say.
In Bernie’s version of events, he seems to be saying that the workers being replaced were the same sort of low-wage workers living out of fleabag motels in Anaheim. They weren’t. The 250 people laid off in January of 2015 were trained IT workers dealing with the computerized operations of the Disney World complex.
Those workers were told in October 2014 that they would be replaced as part of a restructuring of the IT department. They got a three-month warning that it would happen, to which I say, bravo Disney. That beats the hell out of the standard two- or no-days layoff warning that may or may not come with two weeks’ pay, in my experience.
In addition, Disney rehired 100 of those workers, hired more than 170 new U.S. IT employees, and is looking for people to fill more than 100 other IT jobs, according to a Disney statement.
Iger himself responded to Sanders, with justifiable anger, in a Facebook post: “To Bernie Sanders: We created 11,000 new jobs at Disneyland in the past decade, and our company has created 18,000 in the U.S. in the last five years. How many jobs have you created? What have you contributed to the U.S. economy?”
Which brings us to the question of Iger’s salary. It sounds like an awful lot, $46.5 million. Anything with the word “million” in it does.
But Iger is no mere ticket taker, despite Sanders’ efforts to place him in the same employee lunchroom.
Iger is the man in charge of a $169.3 billion company, and even that eye-popping figure only puts Disney in line behind 70 other, wealthier, companies. All the properties, operations and employees of that vast empire that Mickey Mouse built are his responsibility. It’s ultimately up to him to ensure that everything works right, everybody (including investors) gets paid and all the bills are taken care of.
It’s even his job to respond to carpetbagging Marxist presidential wannabes who try to score cheap points with their brainwashed minions.
Say what you like about whether Iger’s really worth so much, he’s worth it to the Disney Co., which should be all that matters.
Bernie’s burger flippers would do better to stop listening to the Marxist siren song of mutual misery and start adding to their resumes.