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article imageThe Big Three CEO's: Tin-cups in one hand, keys to private jets in the other

By Michael Casey     Nov 19, 2008 in Business
Big Three Auto CEO's came to Washington on Wednesday, with hat in hand, looking for a $25 billion dollar bailout from taxpayers. All the while, making the trip to DC in private jets at a cost of $20,000 a pop for each flight.
According to CNN, the Big Three CEO's appeared in front of the House Financial Services Committee, appealing, or begging (depending on your point of view) for $25 billion to assist their ailing companies from going bankrupt. However, after promising to streamline their companies and run more efficient operations Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-New York, brought up an interesting point to the CEO's,
As CNN reports:
"There is a delicious irony in seeing private luxury jets flying into Washington, D.C., and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hand, saying that they're going to be trimming down and streamlining their businesses. 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."
After further prodding from House members, no retort was given by the company executives,
Rep. Brad Sherman, D-California, asked the three CEOs to "raise their hand if they flew here commercial. Let the record show, no hands went up. Second, I'm going to ask you to raise your hand if you are planning to sell your jet in place now and fly back commercial. Let the record show, no hands went up." The executives -- Alan Mulally of Ford, Robert Nardelli of Chrysler and Richard Wagoner of GM -- did not specifically respond to those remarks. In their testimony, they said they are streamlining business operations in general.
While the company executives aren't wholly to blame for the current crisis facing the American auto manufacturers, their complicity is not even debatable. After promising to use better business sense in the running of their companies, they have failed to see what sort of message their actions send to Congress, the American people, and their workers.
In an environment that is not conducive to corporate largess, you would think that these educated men and women would have a clue. Flying in on your own personal dime or returning your corporate bonus to your business in the form of an investment are just some small examples of a message that says, "We get it." And it might make the electorate and Congress a little more sympathetic to their cause. However, the concept of corporate welfare and further handouts with nothing in return seems to be all they understand. It makes one ponder; whatever happened to the sound leadership, dauntlessness, and inspired innovation of American industries?
More about Big three, Auto-makers, Bailout
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