Saturday, November 22, 2008
It generates only one image in my mind: Celebrities. Thoughts of a planet in peril aside, if you were offered a private jet or had the means to fly the friendly skies in your very own aircraft, surely you'd oblige. But we're not celebrities or high profile politicians. You're none of the above. But you do happen to be a multi-million dollar executive. You are Alan Mulally, Robert Nardelli and Richard Wagooner. As the CEO's of Ford, Chrysler, and GM you are entitled to your private jets. And that's where it ends.
Tin cups in hand, the CEO's of three major U.S. automakers begged the House Financial Services Committee for a $25 billion dollar loan. With promises of trimming down their businesses AKA cutting jobs, all three men testified that without the funding, bankruptcy loomed on the horizon. How have three of the most successful automakers in our country managed to drive their businesses into the ground? That's one question with a plethora of answers, and we've heard them all. What I want to know is: how do you justify flying a private jet to meet with a committee you are begging money from? Ah-ha. If ever faced with the choice of flying commercial versus a private jet, I'd go for the ultra-fabulous, fuel-guzzling aircraft. Shameful I know. But I'm not a millionaire running a multi-billion dollar corporation that is going down the tube. Flying a private jet sends the wrong message: you are an elitist. And although we already know you think you are above everyone else (money and power), exercise logic. How about downgrading to a first-class commercial flight? I digress; that is a high expectation. Maybe jet-pool?
So now that they have been publicly humiliated, if faced with the choice between commercial versus their fancy jets, what would they choose? At this week's hearing, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-California) said, "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."
Clearly these CEO's down give a damn. They have no problem cost-cutting as long as it's not coming out of their pocketbooks. And don't forget; they won't hesitate to slash thousands of jobs. So while you're waiting in the unemployment line, pondering how you'll recover from this economic downturn, Alan Mulally (Ford), Robert Nardelli (Chrysler) and Richard Wagooner (GM) will still be flying their private jets that YOU helped pay for. And when you ask why, remember their answer: it's COMPANY POLICY.