Archive for corporate

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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