The Shameful Greed Of Airline Ceos

"United We Stand," shout the red, white, and blue CEOs of America's airlines as they rush to Washington to explain that their industry needs $3 billion in taxpayer subsidies to keep flying in these perilous economic times.

Meanwhile, back at headquarters, these same CEOs are shouting quite a different message at their employees. Instead of "United We Stand," it's "You're On Your Own," as the top dogs are firing thousands and demanding cuts of one-third to one-half in the paychecks of the employees that remain, plus making huge cuts in worker pensions.

"Well," hrrump the CEOs, "we're accepting cuts in our pay, too!" Look at Glenn Tilton, honcho at United Airlines. Poor Glenn took an 11 percent salary whack last year and is taking another 14 percent this year, they point out, tears welling in their eyes at the thought of Tilton's sacrifice in the common cause.

Yeah, "poor Glenn" is down to only $712,000 in salary this year. But wait ... there's more. He's also getting $1.5 million in stock payments this year, a $3 million "signing bonus," and a special $4.5 million pension payment. His total haul is nearly $10 million. Talk about your friendly skies.

Likewise, ol' Leo Mullins at Delta Airlines, says he's cutting his salary to barely $600,000 this year, as well as giving up some $6 million in bonuses and stock payments. What a guy, huh? Before giving him the Golden Heart Award, however, let's note that he quietly is pocketing millions in corporate cash for a special pension fund he set up for himself this year, including extra payments to cover the taxes that he will owe on the special pension. Now that's putting the gold in the "golden years," isn't it?

Senator John McCain believes we should not bail out airlines until the CEO ripoffs end. To back McCain's effort, call his office: 202-224-2235.

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