Capitalism - GOP Style - with bonuses that are not bonuses

American Airlines has been losing money and market for years so the company top executives have had to scrape by on  $300 million or so. Last year, the CEO got $5 million and his President, who is now CEO, made about $3million.
The bonuses, then as now, are given to executives at a time when American’s unionized mechanics, ground workers, pilots and flight attendants are working under 30 percent wage and benefit cuts agreed to in 2003 to keep the airline out of bankruptcy.
“They’re not bonuses,” [then CEO] Arpey told his questioner. “It’s stock-based compensation.” 
All right then - not bonuses. But all that money buys a lot of talent, and that talent has come up with a brilliant scheme for restoring the company to profitability. No, please don't be silly, they don't plan to improve quality of service, gain customers, and reduce operating costs through smart policies. Instead they plan to abuse the bankruptcy laws to break contracts with their employees, rip-off their pensioners, and stick the government with $9,000,000,000 (9 billion) or so in bad debts. The company contracted with employees to fund pensions - that was in the contract- but they preferred to use the money for higher purposes like themselves. Now the pensions are underfunded, so management wants to take a razor to them and hand what's left to the taxpayers. And they have already paid $14 million to bankruptcy and reorganization advisers from Wall Street- including $500,000/month to Mitt Romney's friends at Bain Consulting for advice on how to screw over workers at American Eagle.

The company PAC has been able to hand out money left and right - mostly right though - to both national and Texas state politicians. Conservatives like Boren and Inhofe and Rick Perry have all bellied up to the till. No wonder Texas GOP Senator Kay Baily Hutchinson slipped a special provision in the Iraq War bill of 2007 that permitted American to divert another billion dollars from employee pensions - that's one billion of the 9billion that the taxpayer is supposed to take over under management's plan. Who is standing in the way?Only the Obama administration which wants to save workers pensions (ones they are owed under contract) and save taxpayer dollars instead of supporting these "job creators" who  apparently deserve low tax rates and high salaries because they are so damn great at running an airline. Funny how all those conservatives who think contracts are so important and who hate government handouts seem to have fallen silent.  As Lawrence O'Donnell points out - another reason to vote.




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