In an unbelievable display of greed and arrogance, US plane maker Hawker Beechcraft's eight senior executives put their hands out for more than $5.3 million (£3.4m) in bonuses today even as the company struggles with bankruptcy.
"The plans are consistent with our commitment to emerging from the restructuring process in the strongest operational and financial position possible," the company bosses claimed.
The firm said the plan was developed to recognise the "critical role certain employees have in the bankruptcy process," arguing that their continued employment is essential to the company's ongoing business operations and restructuring.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers greeted the news with astonishment and said it plans to formally object to the executive bonuses before a bankruptcy hearing on Thursday.
"You got to be kidding me. Bonuses? And you know, really when I look at the company that owns Hawker Beechcraft - Goldman Sachs - and what the country went through with them and bonuses, I guess I shouldn't be surprised," said machinists union political director Matt McKinnon.
Hawker Beechcraft Corp is owned by Onex Partners and GS Capital Partners, a Goldman Sachs private equity fund.
It has struggled more than other plane-makers because it was purchased in a highly leveraged deal at the peak of the boom, just before the bottom fell out of the market. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in May.
The amount of the proposed bonuses for each manager is based on a formula that takes into account whether Hawker Beechcraft emerges as a standalone entity or is sold to a third party.
For example, management bonuses would be reduced by 25 per cent of each participant's base salary for each $100m (£65m) in purchase price below the $1.79 billion (£1.1bn) deal offered recently by Beijing-based Superior Aviation.
The highest potential bonus would be $1.26m (£810,000) paid to chairman Bill Boisture.
Various vice-presidents, its top lawyer and chief financial officer would receive smaller payouts.
The bonuses will be challenged by the Justice Department's bankruptcy watchdog agency at Thursday's hearing.
Official inflation figures understate the real extent of rising costs, but even the government's own CPI scheme lays bare the ongoing misery for working people and those dependent on benefits.
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