When the business owner asked me why this is a good thing, I provided several reasons. First off, being a "survivor" in a large organization may not be as fortuitous as you might thing. My background is IT, and one of the things I've seen over time is that those left behind still need to find a way to maintain the productivity levels achieved with more people. From my clients in the sales force who are left after a lay off, they are expected to pick up the workload that existed beforehand. How is working an extra 20 - 25% to keep your job beneficial?
Second, when a company such as Bank of America lets people go, there will be some good talent walking out the door. They invest a lot of time and money into their employees, Bank of America isn't releasing 30,000 slackers. There will be good talent walking out the door. This is great news for smaller banks and other financial institutions. It's also great news for those leaving the bank. They have skills and abilities that may lend well towards the pursuit of opportunities they have shelved for years. What about starting your own business based on these talents?
The former employees of Solyndra were working on solar technology. Why can't the next innovations come from a guy or gal working in their garage? Do we so quickly forget where the ingenuity of Apple and HP began? As a former survivor of layoffs, I much prefer the severance package to staying behind. The morale is typically poor afterwards.
Obviously, the news media operates from a "bleeds, it leads" perspective. But it is important to encourage folks that opportunity awaits those who seek it, and that over time, moves like this will be a blessing for folks.