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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Big Three: Coming Off Jet Planes With Tin Cups

The CEO's of the Big Three American automakers flew into Washington today in their corporate jets for hearings on their request for $25 billion in taxpayer help. At least one congressman noticed.
"I think there is an irony in seeing private luxury jets flying into Washington DC and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hand saying that they are going to be trimming down and streamlining their businesses. It's almost like seeing the guy show up at the soup kitchen in a tophat and tuxedo. Kind of makes you a little bit suspicious as to whether or not we've seen the future. And it causes some of the Senators to think have we seen the future.

There's a message there. Couldn't ya'll have downgraded to first class or jetpooled to get here? I mean it would have at least sent a message that you get it. If you are going to streamline your companies, where does it start? It would seem to me that as the CEOs of these companies that you cant set the standard of what that future is going to look like. That you are really going to trim the fat. That you dont need all the luxuries and bells and whistles. Causes us to wonder." -- Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.)
Later in the hearing, the CEO's were asked to raise their hand if any of them intended to sell their private jets in order to cut costs. None of them raised their hand.


Anonymous said...

that didn't make it any easier.

Bob Keith said...

Hey Lou:
- have not checked in a while.

The one thing none of the political millionaires in Washington, the millionaire media talking heads, and the many companies seeking bailout, never mention is that no one can buy anything if few people have gainful jobs. The 6% umemployment figure is a misnomer. I would say 50% or more of working people in America now do not have a job which allows them to afford a new anything. Most of us if employed at all, are way under umployed. It will take years to correct that, if even ever.

Uncle Sammy can shovel out the billions by the truck load and if no one has a meaningful job with meaningful pay, it is a lost cause. All these companies have been doomed for about the last six months. High gasoline prices where only salt in the wound - gas on the fire. They could give gas away and the "Big Three" will still struggle, languish, flounder, and fail under current conditions.

Working schlubs have seen it coming for at least two years. Washington, the ruling media, and the many companies are now in a panic - it is too late. I welcome them to our world. - hope they enjoy the view from our level.

Bob Keith

RichE95 said...

The arrival in private jets was a PR disastor. It was pure stupidity as perception can be everything. I am a 35 year GM vet and of course want the company to survive. The cost structure has been addressed but the benefit is two years away. GM committed to $30 billion to get rid of the retiree health insurance. Where does that money come from in the current environment? The UAW decided to throw future employees under the bus (pay, benefits) but that will be slow coming. The UAW is willing to sacrifice future members in order to maintain the status quo for those left working. What a total lack of the concept of shared sacrifice which should be a cornerstone of the labor movement. It won't be good enough. Management and the union need to come to the table with an agreement to cut costs now - not in 2010 ir 2011. If that means a $10 an hour cut till 2011, no cola till 2011, reduced health care benefits, $1 a year executive pay, etc etc - so what? That would probably secure the government "loan". What is the alternative? Time for the blame game has past.

Lou Kaye said...

Rich, don't you think paying workers $10 an hour is throwing them under a bus? The UAW did what it is hired to do, protect the workers now, no one knows what the future will bring.

When some people spoke out to reduce the white collar pay ($100's an hour) on Wall Street to qualify for the bail-out - others cried it was socialism, that we can't dictate wages. Yet, these are the same folks who demand autoworkers take additional cuts. The autoworkers modest wages by comparison are not the problem - never were. Too many folks have been politically and culturally conditioned against organized labor - this opposition concept needs to expire. Time for re-conditioning.

Anonymous said...

That was far more than just perception or a PR disaster. They may have just as well drove to Washington in Toyotas. This spoke volumes about their commitment to solve the problem. The CEO's will milk it to the end.

RichE95 said...

To use an old cliche - you guys advocate cutting off the nose to spite the face. I suggested $1 a year for executives and don't care what happened prevously on Wall St. I want GM to survive now and all parties need to do what it takes. Louis - no current worker is being paid $10 an hour - that is for future UAW workers - the UAW was not hired to throw them under the bus but did. Those left working have lost virtually nothing but overtime. Gettlefiner talks about giving up the API for a annual bonus. That still amounts to 3% plus a cola that few others in the civilized world have. That is not by any stretch of the immagination a sacrifice. The sacrifice will be when we all lose our jobs. All we will have left is our ability to blame everyone else and the blue state Democrats will continue to buy red state vehicles.

Lou Kaye said...

But you're lambasting the UAW and their CEO for making cuts not great enough to save the industry while defending the example of the corporate jet CEO's as a mere PR disaster. Union labor and their wages did not bring about this latest crisis, even the Big 3 CEO's admit that.

The trade agreements that pit American workers against unregulated overseas labor making cars and parts are the problem - always were. With our costs just to protect the environment, our workers would have to work for free to compete. The rivers in China are thicker than molasses and combustible. Who wants to compete with that. The trade agreements all need to be reworked.

RichE95 said...

I defended the jets? Huh? How do words like PR disastor and stupidity constitute a defense?

Lou Kaye said...

When something is referred to as a "PR disaster" it usually means everythings fine, it's just the perception that needs to be corrected.

The phony free markets failed, the pro-growth doctrine met it's final destiny, the aura of wealth built on debt should be finally over, the Wall Street syndicate is exposed, the trade agreements proved suicidal, yet it seems somewhere out this is many have found an opening to blame the labor unions and attack and destroy them.

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