By Lauren | December 6, 2012
Newsfixnow.com reports that a federal bankruptcy judge has approved the payout of $1.75 million in bonuses to nineteen corporate officers and senior managers of the defunct Hostess baked goods company. That’s an average of over $92,000 apiece, approximately twice what the average American family earns in a year. Not too shabby for an executive team who tanked the business and put over 18,000 people out of work right before the holidays.
The bonus admittedly comes with strings attached. The would-be recipients have to stick around through Hostess’ liquidation to get their payments, and presumably they’ll have to do at least some work to wind up the company. Still, it makes no sense to me to reward executives who failed to keep the company afloat while rank-and-file workers suffer for their ineptitude. You can bet that none of Hostess’ bakers and factory workers are getting hefty holiday bonuses this year.
The bankruptcy judge’s decision reflects a popular philosophy that’s both disturbing and entirely too pervasive. Somehow, we seem to have decided as a nation that executives are inherently more deserving than the people who work for them, entitled to be rewarded for even the poorest of performances while their workers struggle to survive on ever-shrinking crumbs from the corporate table. It’s become commonplace for highly-paid CEOs to receive handsome exit bonuses even after they’ve reduced their companies to smoldering wreckage, and that’s just plain wrong. Failed executives shouldn’t benefit from their incompetence. Instead of approving bonus payments to the authors of Hostess’ demise, the judge should have divided that money among the workers who lost their jobs when the company failed, even if the individual payments wouldn’t cover the cost of a Twinkie.