Thursday, November 20, 2008

I HATE! Selfishness - Part Deux

Again with this?
Big Three auto CEOs flew private jets to ask for taxpayer money
By Josh Levs CNN
(CNN) -- Some lawmakers lashed out at the CEOs of the Big Three auto companies Wednesday for flying private jets to Washington to request taxpayer bailout money.

Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli, left, and Ford CEO Alan Mulally testify on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

"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," Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-New York, told the chief executive officers of Ford, Chrysler and General Motors at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee.

"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."

The executives -- Alan Mulally of Ford, Robert Nardelli of Chrysler and Richard Wagoner of GM -- were seeking support for a $25 billion loan package. Later Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reversed plans to hold a test vote on the measure.

An aide told CNN that Reid decided to cancel the test vote when it became clear the measure would fall well short of the 60 votes needed. Reid did, however, make a procedural move that could allow a vote on a compromise, which several senators from auto-producing states were feverishly trying to craft.

At Wednesday's hearing, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-California, pressed the private-jet issue, asking the three CEOs to "raise their hand if they flew here commercial."
"Let the record show, no hands went up," Sherman said. "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 did not specifically respond to those remarks. In their testimony, they said they are streamlining business operations in general.

When contacted by CNN, the three auto companies defended the CEOs' travel as standard procedure.

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.

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."

Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker pointed to the company's travel policy and did not provide a statement elaborating.
But those statements did little to mollify the critics.

"If it is simply the company's money at stake, then only the shareholders can be upset or feel as it might be excessive," said Thomas Schatz, president of the watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste.

But in this case, he said, "it's outrageous."

"They're coming to Washington to beg the taxpayers to help them. It's unseemly to be running around on a $20,000 flight versus a $500 round trip," Schatz added.

The companies did not disclose how much the flights cost.

Analysts contacted by CNN noted that the prices vary with the size of the plane and the crew, and whether the aircraft is leased or owned by the company.

Analyst Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group said that $20,000 is a legitimate ballpark figure for a round trip corporate jet flight between Detroit, Michigan, and Washington.

When asked whether they plan to change their travel policies as part of the restructuring needed to shore up their finances, none of the companies answered directly. But they said they have cut back on travel in general as revenues have fallen.
What on earth causes people to be so GD idiotic? Let's break this down - the CEOs of the three biggest automobile manufacturing companies come to Washington DC to ask (well, beg is more like it) for a $25 billion bailout. Without this money they say, their companies, as well as the city of Detroit as a whole, will inevitably collapse. This $25 billion they're asking for is money that has been collected by taxes. Money collected from taxes is money taken from taxpayers. And how do these CEOs see is fit to travel to Washington DC to ask for this taxpayer money? THEY EACH FLY TO THE CAPITOL ON THEIR OWN PRIVATE JET. Yes, I'm serious.

How idiotic do you have to be? It's pretty darn obvious that flying a private jet to Washington to lobby Congress to give the companies that you oversee necessary funding is RETARDED. These three CEOs are claiming that they are trying to 'streamline' their businesses to cut back on unnecessary spending and attempt to save their ailing companies. And then, they fly to Washington on private jets. Each of them on an individual jet. In no way can this be considered streamlining. In fact, I am going to go out on a limb here and say that when these CEOs say 'streamline' they really mean 'cut jobs while keeping themselves situated in the manner they are presently accustomed'.

The Chrysler spokesman commented on this egregious display of selfishness by saying that 'all business travel requires the highest standard of safety for all employees'. Does that mean that all Chrysler employees fly by private jet? I don't think so. Are we to assume that flying commercial is a imminent danger to the life of the Chrysler CEO? According to the company's spokesman, it seems so. And if that's the case, then flying commercial would be just as dangerous for any and all of the other Chrysler employees - so, by that reasoning, every Chrysler employee from factory workers all the way up to the CEOs should be flying on private jets.

I will say that I genuinely do appreciate Rep. Brad Sherman for taking this issue up the CEOs themselves during their Senate hearing. And when asked whether they would abandon their private jets and fly commercial back to Detroit, none of the CEOs even seemed to acknowledge this idea as a good or wise one. This is why our country's economy is slowly, but surely, going down the shitter - pure, unbridled selfishness.

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