Archive for auto industry

Barack Obama: Auto execs are ‘a little tone deaf’

Posted in 1, Politics, Ranting with tags , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2008 by bloggingmom67

I watched a clip of part of Barbara Walters interview with Barack Obama, and as I watched him, I knew I was right to support him. She asked about one of my favorite topics: auto executive flying on private jets to ask for a $25 million bailout of taxpayers’ money.

Obama responded just how I hoped he would: “Well, I thought maybe they’re a little tone deaf to what’s happening in America right now. … I think it’s been a problem for the captains of industry, generally. When people are pulling down hundred-million-dollar bonuses on Wall Street, and taking enormous risks with other people’s money, that indicates a sense that you don’t have any perspective on what’s happening to ordinary Americans,” he responded, according to ABC News.

Oh, he get it. After eight years of a president whose main goal in his tax policies seemed to be to reward his wealthy cronies, we have a president who gets what it’s like to be a regular person in America today.

Later, Obama explains that he thinks bank executives should forgo their Christmas bonuses, considering the $700 billion bailout and the financial crisis our nation is in. Again, he answers with a resounding yes.

His words, according to ABC, say it best: “I think that if you are already worth tens of millions of dollars, and you are having to lay off workers, the least you can do is say, ‘I’m willing to make some sacrifice as well, because I recognize that there are people who are a lot less well off, who are going through some pretty tough times.’ “

By the way, the blodface in both quotes is mind. I added it to emphasize what I feel are key points in what Obama said.

Anyway, I’m thrilled. I’m confident Obama has a tough road ahead of him. But he gets it; he’s the real deal; we’re going to be OK eventually!

bitchy mommy

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Dear auto industry execs, start acting like you deserve a bailout

Posted in 1, Politics, Ranting with tags , , , , , , , on November 24, 2008 by bloggingmom67

 I know eventually we’ll need to bail out the auto industry. Mass layoffs at auto plants won’t serve the nation, and bailing out the ailing big three automakers, I think, will be necessary to help jump-start the economy.

But I’m glad Congress said “No” to the bailout, at least initially.

Here’s why: This corporate greed and self-centeredness has to stop.  I don’t blame the auto industry CEOs for being rich. I don’t blame anyone for being rich if they got their legally.

But if your industry is sinking, you need to cut back — not just come begging. I’m not willing to bail out the auto industry until they take some responsibility of their own. Auto execs: Why not sell your corporate jets, cut your own salaries — do whatever needs to be done — and come up with a new business plan to prove you won’t end up in the toilet again. Then, I’m all for giving you a bailout. What ever happened to the captain going down with the ship? (And, auto execs, you’re the captain in this analogy in case you didn’t get that.)

As billionaire investor Warren Buffet explains: The government should insist that top executives at Ford, General Motors and Chrysler invest a significant percentage of their own net worths in the Detroit-based companies, ensuring both executives and taxpayers would share in any profits or losses.

I think the big 3 CEOs need a reality check. It’s not just their industry that has hit the skids. Everyone is hurting. I, for example, am getting a raise of roughly $7 a week this year because of the economic downturn. I’m not complaining. Thousands of people aren’t getting a raise at all or they’ve been laid off. We’re all facing having to do without or make things last, as Kit Kittredge says in the movie that bears her name and tells of life during the Great Depression. Please remember that. The whole world is not flying high while you three — and you three alone — have fallen on hard times.

We’re all feeling the pinch. Look at the newspaper industry. If ever there was an industry in need of a bailout, the newspaper industry is one. At my last count from news reports, nearly 6,000 journalists have been laid off so far this year. The Star-Ledger in New Jersey nearly closed and was saved only because nearly half its newsroom staff opted to take a buyout.

The Christian Science Monitor announced it will only have a Web edition, not an actual paper, paper. That saves money because newsprint is one a newspaper’s biggest expenses. PC Magazine is also going that route.

Newspapers are getting a double hit — both the recession and a decline in readership that has been going on for 50 years but has gone into warp speed because of the Internet. What would a democracy be without newspapers or a free press?

It seems of any industry, this is one that it’s in all of America’s interest to save.

There’s just one problem. Newspapers can’t be a government watchdog and beholden to government at the same time. So a bailout, while it might help, can’t even be considered for newspapers. Too much conflict of interest.

So, auto execs, be lucky you could take a bailout. Start acting like you deserve one.

Much love,

bitchy mommy

Auto industry execs ride corporate jets to ask for bailout

Posted in 1, Politics, Ranting with tags , , , , , , on November 21, 2008 by bloggingmom67

OK, I may be nitpicking here, but, if you’re headed to Washington, D.C., to ask the government to bail out your ailing industry with taxpayers’ money, you might want to consider not flying in on your corporate jets.

I’m talking about the auto industry CEOs who flew to the nation’s capital this week, begging for help for their businesses, which they basically allowed to flounder. ABC News reports that they arrived in their corporate jets to essentially beg for a handout.

That ABC report says the jet ride cost one of the CEOs, GM’s Rick Wagoner, an estimated $20,000 roundtrip. What?

First, I have no idea if that estimate is true or not. I’ve never been in a corporate jet, and I probably never will be. I didn’t know that it cost so much for one roundtrip. But then I thought about it. You have pay fuel (I know how much it costs to fill my minivan; a jet must be a another matter completely). Then you need to pay staff, flight attendants, pilots, etc. You’ll need food and drinks and who knows what else.

Now I made this point to a friend recently, and she balked. They own jets, she says. Probably was cheaper to fly on them then to buy a last-minute airline ticket. Not so, according to the ABC News report, which found that Wagoner could have flown for $288 coach and $837 first class. Even if he had his entourage with him and even if those rates are low estimates, he still could have made if for less than $20,000 roundtrip. (Or, as another friend quipped: “Why didn’t he drive; he is car maker after all.”)

Why does all this matter? Because this rich dude wants some of my money to bail out his company, which is doing poorly — a problem that is essentially his high-priced self’s fault. And he can’t even try to convey that he gets that his company will have to tighten its belt in light of it’s failure? I don’t expect him to show up in rags, pleading for a money. But I wouldn’t mind.

The way I see it, the auto industry is failing in large part because foreign companies make better cars. Detroit, the solution is — improve your product, and people will buy it. Now I realize that the recent economic problems have increased the auto industry’s woes. I get that. And I can see that if we don’t bail out the auto industry the ensuing layoffs would be very bad for the nation as a whole. Sure.

But as Richard Gere says in “Pretty Woman” as he takes his callgirl/girlfriend (Julia Roberts) shopping on Rodeo Drive: “We need more sucking up here.”

The auto industry by its arrogance gives an impression of a spoiled child, who feels it deserves a big handout and a big thank you. Detroit, you don’t. I don’t agree with Mitt Romney, who says we should just let you hang, so you’ll change your ways. But I’m tempted. Especially, if you show no sign that you might realize that your extravagant wastefulness and corporate greed might be part of your problem.

As Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-New York, told the chief executive officers of Ford, Chrysler and General Motors at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee in a CNN report, “It’s almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in high hat and tuxedo. It kind of makes you a little bit suspicious.”

He added, “couldn’t you all have downgraded to first class or jet-pooled or something to get here? It would have at least sent a message that you do get it.”

Yeah. The analogy I used with my friend was: I’d be a bit leery of giving money to a homeless guy who drove up in a limo. The point is the same. Why should I — and I mean I, the money is part mine – give you money if you’re just going to squander it again?

Bitchy Mommy

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