Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Auto Execs and Their Jets

There has been a big hoopla in the last two weeks over the Big 3 auto executive's decision to fly their corporate jets to Washington to ask for a piece of the bailout pie.
But skeptical lawmakers blasted them for flying private jets to Washington and failing to make personal sacrifices in exchange for federal assistance.

"It's almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in a high hat and tuxedo," said Rep. Gary Ackerman, a Democrat from New York.

"Couldn't you have downgraded to first class or something, or jet-pooled or something to get here?" Ackerman asked the executives at a hearing held by the U.S. House Financial Services Committee.

Something my boss said about it actually made sense. These executives get paid for running a business, not for testifying in front of Congress. The faster they can get to where they're going and make decisions for the company, the better off they'll be.

Now, from a business point of view, this is sound reasoning; from a public relations point of view, this is a disaster. Duh.

The head of the United Auto Workers union was a little more savvy.
Ron Gettelfinger, head of the United Auto Workers union, also testified at the hearing but flew a commercial flight to Washington.

"I got a plane to catch, you know what I mean," Gettelfinger said to reporters when leaving the hearing room.

Does anyone see the delicious irony that auto executives are getting pilloried for their use of private aircraft? I mean, come on guys, you could at least have showed up in a hybrid Volt, Escape, or Aspen.

A nice Cadillac would have shown some style.

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