Saturday, November 22, 2008

Beggars for Money come knocking...

This past couple of weeks saw the three CEO's of GM, Chrysler and Ford coming before the United States' Congress begging for money in order to keep their respective automotive companies operational. However, the CEO's left Washington for Detroit with empty coffee cups still outstretched hoping someone somewhere would drop at least a penny in there. The meetings with Congress didn't go well at all. But really it was the CEO's own fault that things really didn't go well.

The main issue, brought forward by at least two congressional committee members, was the bad optics the automotive company CEO's were displaying towards government, their own workers and the beleaguered American taxpayer in even travelling from Detroit to Washington for the Congressional meetings. California Congressman Brad Sherman (Democrat) showed it best with his simple line of questioning and the responses he received as reported by the Toronto Star:

Brad Sherman of California, asked the three for a show of hands to indicate who flew here on a commercial airlines.

"Let the record show, no hands went up," Sherman said.

Then he asked for a show of hands to count how many would sell their jets immediately and fly back commercial.

"Let the record show, no hands went up,'' Sherman repeated.

The company CEO's had the audacity to charter 3 private planes (1 for each of them) at approximately twenty grand apiece and fly from Detroit to Washington D.C. and back all the while saying some of their companies may run out of money before the presidential inauguration in January 2009. Meanwhile, on US Airways one economy class seat retails at $225 US before taxes.

Even more galling then their private jet setting, the CEOs didn't come with future plans. In fact, Congress sent them back to Detroit to come up with a plan on how they would save each one of their companies. The main question that should be asked on behalf of all American, and soon Canadian, taxpayers is why didn't any of the these three overpriced CEOs have the gonads to present to Congress a contingency plan on how they were going to get their company out of economic trouble and back into the drivers seat and competing again? Of course it doesn't take making two million dollars a year to figure that out. But apparently not one of them thought of this as the Congressional committee asked the CEOs to return with said plans.

Memo to overpriced executives everywhere....if you're going to ask for taxpayers money to bail out your company, please at the very least have a plan on how you plan to move your company forward using the taxpayers money before you head to the Nation's, State's or Provincial capital.

At least the Big 3 CEO's have started planning for their second round trip to Washington and back. The first on the list was to agree to carpool down to Washington instead of using three separate private jet planes. This move should save them probably close fifty eight thousand dollars round trip. Second, as per Congress' instructions, each of the CEOs is coming up with a plan on how to move their company forward if they were to receive an American taxpayer funded bailout.

The CEOs of the big three car companies wasted a trip to Congress. They failed had the audacity of travelling separately at twenty grand a piece from Detroit to Washington as well as not presenting anything that would convince the Congressional committee that the car companies had sound financial planning beyond the possible bailout. Basically this last trip was a complete waste of time and money. The sad part is the trio will return to Washington again asking for more. But who knows what kind of plans this triumvirate will present.

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