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Companies use election results as an excuse to ruin workers' lives

November 12, 2012

The thing that fascinates me most about American politics is that just when it seems as if we’ve seen it all, and the political landscape is in danger of becoming dull and monotonous, someone raises the bar.

And indeed, shortly after the election, a handful of corporate executives stepped up to the plate to announce that, due to the Obama win, they would be forced — forced — to lay off workers or cut back hours.

How great is that? We’ve all seen sore losers who want to take their ball and go home. Taken to the extreme, there might even be tantrums and more tears than you would expect to see out of a woman who had just learned her husband had been assigned a biographer. But most people that we know who are disposed to these tendencies are effectively past that stage by the age of 9.

Of course, there are some people who enjoy an extended childhood, even though they might grow up to become corporate executives. And that means when your guy loses at the ballot box, you are free to react by pouting and laying off your employees.

At least one coal mine did announce layoffs — blaming the American voters — and a couple of restaurant chains threatened to do the same, blaming the Affordable Health Care Act.

And really, I don’t know why nobody ever thought of this before. The only flaw in the method that I see is timing. If all U.S. companies had thought to threaten to fire their workers BEFORE the election, it might have changed the result. Or it would have, if so many U.S. companies hadn’t already fired their workers and sent their jobs overseas.

That’s the problem with using your workers as a political tool. It only works once. You could call them back and fire them all over again, I suppose, but it’s really not the same.

If your coal mine’s in trouble because it can’t compete with shale gas, Obama might be the least of your problems. So where is your tearful self to go from here? Out to give T. Boone Pickens a wedgie?

It’s just not helpful, especially if your goal is to rule the nation. Your candidate gets beat and it throws you into so much of a screaming, two-fisted rage that you feel the need to destroy the lives of hundreds of people just to make a point. And then your party goes out the next day and spends millions of dollars on focus groups to answer the question, “Why don’t people like us?”

Of course, I should talk; I’ve been driven out of every organized political party in the nation, usually in some form of snit or another. Before I was driven away from Republicans, I was driven away from Democrats because they can’t keep their paws off private property and their propensity to add every guardrail over the age of 10 to the historic register.

But firing your workers to get even with voters might be a tough act to beat, short of military-style executions.

Not to give this crowd any ideas.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at timr@herald-mail.com.

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