Thursday, November 20, 2008

So exactly how much cluelessness can you buy for $25 billion?

You've probably heard about the boneheaded Big Three auto CEOs who each flew in their private corporate jets to Washington to ask for financial assistance from Congress. What you might not have heard is how thoroughly they were raked over the coals for it by some members of Congress (as opposed to other fawning members who gushed over their American cars).

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post offers a great look at both sides of this story in today's Washington Post. Among my favorite lines is this one from Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY):

"There's 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. It's almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in high-hat and tuxedo. . . . I mean, couldn't you all have downgraded to first class or jet-pooled or something to get here?"

Of course, a short time later, Ackerman goes off on how he had to check with dealers in 5 states before before he could get the car he wanted in blue and with GPS so any points he won sticking it to these guys promptly went out the window.

But back to Rick Wagoner of General Motors, Robert Nardelli of Chrysler, and Alan Mulally of Ford. These guys make $15 to 20 million a year. You'd think they'd shell out for a consultant who'd have the balls to say "Ummmm...perhaps a dose of humility might go over well here, sir."

Apparently not and that's a big reason why the Big Three are getting the Big Zero when it comes to a bailout, at least for now.

No comments: