Buddy, Can You Spare A …….. Gulfstream?

Hoo, boy. If this isn’t the most arrogant act of pleading poverty ever, it’s got to be very close. The three CEOs of the big three US automakers all took the same way of getting to Washington to beg for public money.

Private jets.

The each took their own private, company owned jet to come to Washington and plead for taxpayers to save their companies. Apparently, they couldn’t even think this through enough to car Gulfstream pool.

The CEOs of the big three automakers flew to the nation’s capital yesterday in private luxurious jets to make their case to Washington that the auto industry is running out of cash and needs $25 billion in taxpayer money to avoid bankruptcy.

The CEOs of GM, Ford and Chrysler may have told Congress that they will likely go out of business without a bailout yet that has not stopped them from traveling in style, not even First Class is good enough.

A first class ticket from Detroit to Washing would set each of these apparently penniless beggars back a staggering $900 each. As opposed to the $20,000 cost of flying the corporate jet there and back.

I’ve been on the fence a bit over the bailout for a number of reasons, but I’m down off it now – so should you be. As a solid union worker told me today – before this news even broke – “Screw ‘em. Let ‘em fail.”

Anyone who is not burning up the phone lines to their Congressional delegation right now demanding this farce of a bailout be killed deserves what they’re going to get.

A wave from the Gulfstream as the executives head back to Detroit with a bucketful of your money.

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8 Responses to Buddy, Can You Spare A …….. Gulfstream?

  1. bill-tb says:

    With each passing day I continue to think we are going to crash really hard.

  2. Bleepless says:

    Something we do not know is the “shape” of each company. My suspicion would be that there are way too many executives and middle-management types. A little purge might save millions per month. This crap about the virtues and strengths of “our team” is very strange: either these people are irrelevant, or they are complicit in the decisions which have brought about the present situation.

  3. Plumb Bob says:

    Bleepless, millions per month would do nothing. GM has been losing $1 billion per month since 1998.

    Their payroll structure is far too heavy from top to bottom, their benefits and pensions are killing them, they have to offer enormous sales incentives just to get consumers to buy their crappy cars, and their distribution network (all those dealerships) is way too expensive. Meanwhile, they’ve spent the last decade retooling their plants and products so they can now say they have the same manufacturing efficiency as the Japanese. In other words, they’ve been losing money for a decade and steadfastly ignoring the business problems.

    On a different note, just how long do you suppose the US government is going to be able to continue to write big checks before international buyers of T-bills start putting their money into yen, yuan, and euros instead?

    The Left genuinely believes money falls from the sky (so, apparently, does George W. Bush, but that’s for a different comment.)

  4. martian says:

    At least the CEO of Chrysler had enough sense to state that he is planning on working for the sum of $1.00 in salary for the next year. When the CEOs of GM and Ford were asked if they would be willing to pony up and do the same, the response was a politley phrased “no way, Jose!”

    I’m on the “let ‘m fail” wagon myself. Make them go through reorganization, fire alll of the top and even middle management people who managed them into this sorry state, and bring in people with proven management track records from other industries to whip them into shape. If they survive reorganization they should come out the other side leaner, meaner and ready to compete on the world market.

  5. Bleepless says:

    Plumb Bob, you are right about the numbers, but sticking it to “our team” rather than to the workers would be a nice place to start.

  6. Woodsprite says:

    I’m pretty far into the ‘let em fail’ camp, so I hate to be defending these guys. In this case the whole corporate jets thing is bad PR, but probably good business. The quoted $20,000 cost of the flight is WAY off since they already own the jets and pay the flight staff. With what these guys get paid, the difference in flight costs of the jet vs. commercial tickets for them and their assistants is easily covered by the two+ hours they save at each end not having to wait in airport lines.

    Last minute bookings on Delta for a first class ticket Detroit to DC runs over $2200. Figure three assistants (a Fortune 500 CEO never travels alone) and they’d pay >$8800 for tickets. The incremental cost of flying the jet they already own (instead of leaving it parked) is going to be that or less. A $10 million annual salary means the CEO is worth $4800/hr and having him doing something other than waiting in line at the airport for two hours at each end is worth $19,000. So going commercial is going to cost over $27,800 once you factor in the CEO time (probably closer to $30K including the assistants). Time = money.

  7. Gaius says:

    Yes, mathematically it makes sense. From a PR standpoint, it is a disaster. Period. Are these the people who have an ounce of credibility when they promise a turnaround if we only give them our money?

    I think not.

    The problem here is that it takes away from the donning of sackcloth and ashes when the one doing the donning emerges from a limousine – or a Gulfstream – to do penance.

  8. I’m firmly in the “Let ‘Em Fail” camp, but not because of a private jet flight. And I’m not in that camp despite the workers — they’re as much to blame for the fiasco at the Big Three as management is — the UAW has used its clout for years to pad workers’ salaries, and with them their own share through dues. The quality of vehicles and the innovation behind them has failedto improve at the same rate as the Europeans and Asians, and perhaps that IS the fault of Management, but the PRICE of those vehicles has certainly kept pace, and I’m left wondering how much of that is because of Labor and the per hour wages of sutoworkers.

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