Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Leave the driving to others

PUT THIS  in the category of, "You can lead some  corporate CEOs to Washington to beg for bailouts of their companies, but you can't make them give up their costly personal entitlements fit for royalty."  That's the ugly moral of an ABC News report that all three princely CEOs of the Detroit automakers flew to Washington in their  companies' luxurious corporate jets.  

Why is that a big deal?  As the ABC report notes, GM's Rick Wagoner, who is seeking $10 to $12 billion to prop up his company, burned up $20,000 of  GM money as the cost of a round trip with his tin cup.  On the other hand, he could have flown forth and back to Detroit, first class, for $837.   Better yet, coach fair on Northwest Airlines, which you and I suffer,  would have been $288. 

Ford's Alan Mulally, paid $28 million,  and his wife have corporate jet perks.  They live in Seattle and Mulally flies home each week end aboard his Ford jet, to spend, I presume, more time with his family.  It's amazing how indifferent they are to spending other people's money, particularly when it is earmarked for their personal comfort and convenience.    


Anonymous said...

There's nothing inherently evil about corporate jets and often they're a good deal. One company I deal with has about 5 operations between Philly and DC.
I've been on board when they've sent 8 execs to a regional airport. All 8 can then drive to their separate
locations, take care of business, catch the plane back to Ak-Can at 5:30pm and be driving home by 6:30.
No hotels or meals to pay for and considering the (8) days saved in travel time, the cost can be wash versus flying commercial.

Grumpy Abe said...

Back when corporations were fat and happy, the elite could go unchallenged on how they flattered themselves with the company cash. But now that they are kneeling before congress as beggars for survival, shouldn't they at least make a few symbolic gestures to assure everybody that they honestly feel America's pain? It would be little more than ordering an ice cream sundae without the whipped cream. Marie Antoinette refused to give up her bejeweled pretenses and it cost her exactly one head. So I'll go along with Tom Friedman who asserted that the heads of all three failing automakers be fired before Uncle Sam sets out to rescue the companies. Besides, I'm still reeling from the odor of the AIG cesspool.

Anonymous said...

Using your argument, a person who bikes or takes the bus to work could accuse people who drive a car to work of being elitists. At different levels, luxuries become necessities. That Obama campaigned in chartered jet... did make him an elitist?

No of course not. Even though my campaign donation might have paid for it, I realize it afforded
him the best,most efficient use of his time.

And isn't Friedman the sage who was preaching what a great idea the Iraq War was for the first couple of years?

PJJinOregon said...

Perception is reality.

Flying to D.C. in a corporate jet to present a justification for billions of $USD is hubris squared. When I hear the automaker CEOs announce an austerity program for all managers in their corporations, I'll listen to their pleas for help, but not before.

I've had the opportunity to work with mid-level managers from Ford and GM. They're smug, arrogant, and universally incompetent. I don't want my tax dollars padding their retirement accounts. Protect the workers at GM, Ford, and Chrysler, but send the managers out to pasture.

Anonymous said...

Grumpy drives a ten-year-old Camry, what does he know about luxury travel!

Grumpy Abe said...

Please. It's nine years old!