Shawn asked a great question that deserves a better response; more or less, why is there such an outcry about Circuit City's firing of 3400 workers because they're earning (!!!) about 50 cents more per hour than others? Shouldn't the company be free to hire the cheapest labor possible?
While we can't ignore class envy and populism, I think it goes deeper. First of all, the action is a kick in the teeth of the American dream--work hard, do well, get promoted, get fired. Second, it's likely that Circuit City negotiated--I mean "extorted"--tax breaks from cities to get stores based on the promise of good jobs. If you pay taxes in part so your neighbors can be gainfully employed, the broken promise is another kick in the teeth. (my libertarian tendencies don't support such giveaways, but I can certainly understand why people would be ticked when promises made to get tax breaks aren't kept)
Third, Circuit City's numbers don't add up. They're claiming that the fired earned at least $0.50/hour more than the industry average--multiply that by 3400 employees replaced at lower wages and 2000 hours per year, and you're talking about only about $3 million, not $110-140 million as claimed by the company. Probably the actual number is somewhat higher than $3 million, but the total wages of 3400 employees in this field are less than $110 million, so it's duplicitous (and worthy of outrage) that they chose to misrepresent this.
And finally, all of these incompetent kicks in the teeth from Circuit City executives are more than sufficient evidence that there's a better way to save a few million bucks; fire the executives that developed a business model that didn't work.
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