Thursday, November 20, 2008

Big Three Auto Execs arrive in Washington, D.C., via private jets?

I love this story. If anyone was thinking that Wall Street executives are just regular people like you and me, and that they might actually be slightly in touch with reality, here's a good reminder that they're not. Not even close. The CEO's of the Big Three auto makers (Alan Mulally of Ford, Robert Nardelli of Chrysler, and Richard Wagoner of GM) flew into Washington, D.C., yesterday to request a 25 billion dollar loan package from the federal government. Apparently the state of their respective corporations is so bleak that they need these federal funds to stay afloat.

The great irony of this situation comes not in their need for the federal loan package, but in how they traveled to Washington, D.C., to ask for it. You're probably thinking they flew in via first-class commercial, right? They must have tons of frequent flyer miles being CEO's and all so the upgrade to first class wouldn't cost their companies a dime. No, that's not how they flew in. Okay, so now you're probably thinking they jet-pooled in to make for a cheaper flight, right? It does cost a little more than flying commercial but they are CEO's afterall and splitting the cost three-ways couldn't have been too expensive. Wrong again. Get this - those dumb bastards flew into Washington on their own private jets, at an estimated round trip cost of $20,000 each. What - you don't believe me? You think it doesn't make any sense? That with their companies in financial ruins because of blatantly irresponsible spending, now in need of a $25 billion loan package from the tax payers to bail them out, they wouldn't possibly spend $60,000 to fly into Washington, D.C., when they could have flown in on commercial for just $1500? Well believe it because it just happened. I know - what the hell were they thinking, right? That's what I'd like to know too.

Each of the three companies were quick to defend their CEOs' travel as standard procedure, pointing out that like many other major corporations, all three have policies requiring their CEOs to travel in private jets for safety reasons.

"Making a big to-do about this when issues vital to the jobs of millions of Americans are being discussed in Washington is diverting attention away from a critical debate that will determine the future health of the auto industry and the American economy," GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson said in a statement. Hey Tom - who's the one trying to divert attention away from a critical debate now? A debate about ethics and integrity and common sense. That would be you, my friend.

Chrysler spokeswoman Lori McTavish said in a statement, "while always being mindful of company costs, all business travel requires the highest standard of safety for all employees." So I guess what you're saying Lori is that Chrysler plans on giving all of its employees private jets of their own to fly around the country in? Is there a line item for that in Chrysler's fiscal 09 budget?

Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker pointed to the company's travel policy but did not provide a statement elaborating. Well done Kelli - at least one of you idiots had sense enough to keep your mouth shut.

I would say this situation is analogous to a panhandler getting chauffered to his street corner in a stretch limousine to spend the day holding his sob-story sign and begging for money. The only difference is that the panhandler isn't using the government to steal money from the tax payers.

Mr. Mulally, Mr. Nardelli, and Mr. Wagoner,
If you want people to sympathize with you and the companies you represent, pull your heads out of your asses. Each of your companies employs thousands of hard working Americans and it would be a real shame if Ford, Chrysler, or GM, had to go out of business. That being said it's pretty hard to support giving you a $25 billion federal loan package when you have such a long track record of pissing money away like you're Mike Tyson. Effective leadership is the lifeblood of any company. I think it's time you started behaving like effective leaders in an attempt to save your respective companies from insolvency the old fashioned way - with hard work, an unflappable focus on innovation, and last but not least fiscal responsibility. It starts with you. In other words sell the jets you deuche bags.


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