Wealthy Corporate Beggars and Congressional Hypocrites

Political post, feel free to skip.

The CEO’s of the Big 3 automakers went hat in hand before Congress to plead for unearned taxpayer dollars to continue their operations.  Apparently their plan was ‘give us 25Bn and we’ll see that it’s spent properly’.  As a business proposition that seems lacking, and thy were sent away empty handed.  Good.

But there was a bit of hypocritical theater by some goofy congressman, a ‘show of hands of those that came here on a biz jet’ or somesuch.  Of course, these CEO’s all make a heck of a lot of money and haven’t flown commercial since they were Senior VP’s.  This is common in the world of the Big Money CEO’s, and was a spectacularly tone-deaf thing to do when pleading for other peoples’ money as a handout.

Yet, the hypocrisy award goes to a congress which yearly racks up Trillion dollar deficits hectoring business owners for flying corporate jets.  I’d have given a lot of money to have one of the Big 3 CEOs ask “Congressmen, I’d like to see a show of hands of those who rode the bus to work, given the terrific job you’ve done of generating massive budget deficits”.

I can dream.


  1. Political Reply (feel free to skip ;)
    Bingo! The real problem is that the congress critters who are in charge of the $$ are primarily interested in staying in D.C. by sending other people’s money to their constituents. We, their bosses, are culpable for not managing them well.
    Exit question: How can we get people to stand for office who are actually worthy of that office or will at least execute it well? Right now we get to choose between flavors of political monster (kinda like being offered a choice of voting for heads or tails on a quarter…. Its still the same quarter….)

    William sends.

  2. You’re right, it was theater. Next time, they will charter a commercial airline jet from Northwest, or better yet, a tricked-out coach bus, complete with the sauna and widescreen

    The real issue is whether Congress has the will to look at the situation from the perspective of what is best for the country. If you look past the stupidity and greed and sloth that the car companies surely have indulged themselves in in the past decade, willingly ignoring what should have been obvious to any industry with the resources of the car manufacturers, you may have to acknowledge that some form of bailout might be the best thing to do. Under the present circumstances, saving at least Ford and GM might be the better thing to do, not for the stockholders’ sake, but for the purpose of preserving the communities that depend on suppliers’ viability, the jobs associated with those subsidiary industries and the welfare of the states and communities that derive tax income from those industries. We may be saving ourselves the trouble and expense of many more bailouts by treating this problem now. If you believe that to be the lesser of many evils–and this is all about pragmatic choices, here, the question is how to proceed.

    Loan guarantees? Purchases of the company’s preferred stock? Seats on the board? Big warrants? This is a job the Congress, with its own history of mendacity and pettiness and hypocrisy does not merit and probably cannot adequately do. An independent commission would probably do better and be less tied to the process that would tend to tie all sorts of personal pork-barrel perks to a bailout scenario.

    The absolutist libertarian thinkers who would let these companies go bankrupt would create a needless and widespread economic catastrophe. Many companies and communities would suffer and undeservedly, and the expense of repairing that damage would be enormous. This is where the power of government has the potential to prevent great harm and the time to act to do so is now.

  3. If we step back and look at where we are as a society and what the future holds for us, it is worthwhile considering how we might change this country for the better, using all of the tools we have, both of private enterprise and government.

    For the last fifty years, we have enjoyed an effloresence in prosperity, production of food, education, mobility, all largely due to our having no need to repair war wreckage in our own country (gave us a decade to catch up with Europe, at that time) due in most part to our economic and geopolitical dominance and our ability to purchase energy resources on our own terms. In the last three decades, we have allowed ourselves to indulge in more consumption of oil at the expense of reckless dependency on overseas suppliers and while permitting unsustainable trade balances to purchase that oil, and increasingly many more of the manufactured goods we used to make in our own country. We favored building a large network of interstate highways that are quite literally made of oil at the expense of other infrastructure development that every other advanced country in Europe and Asia has not neglected, namely a national network of high-speed electrified rail transport. I think the time has come that we must rebuild to present-day engineering and technology standards a national transport network that does not depend so exclusively on an uninterrupted supply of petroleum to be able to function. Moreover, it is high time that investment in durable infrastructure, in hard assets that stay in this country and can’t be shipped somewhere else wherever labor is cheap (and more importantly safety and pollution regulation are lax–lets give the lie to “free-trade” as we know it).

  4. Regarding the plea:
    Like many, I think the pitch by the CEOs was sorely lacking. Someone being paid $28 million/year in compensation should have come better prepared. The ultimate question is, what do they plan to do with the money that will improve their situation? Even better-selling imports are piling up on the coasts right now. All it seems they really want is to hang around, then come back again next year for more.

    Regarding the theater:
    Such is the way of Washington, and not likely to change. At the same time, thanks to C-span and news coverage, we taxpayers get to see congressional emoting in action.

  5. They need to let then go bankrupt so there business model can be re-structured so they can compete.

    When the average UAW worker makes $137,00 in wages and benefits, pays $38.00 a month for healthcare, and can retire after 30 years with full pension and benefits there is something very wrong with that plan.
    For every worker on the assembly line there are 3 retirees. Those retirees add $1200.00 to the price of every vehicle produced by the big 3 automakers.

    When a high-school graduate can bring in twice what I make, retire after 30 years no matter the age, and get healthcare benefits for $38.00 a month for them and their family, it sticks in my craw.

    In case you wanted to know that comes out to $73.00 per hour. Toyota and Nissan pay their workers $45.00 per hour in wages and benefits. No you know why the big 3 need to be re-structured, re-organized, and wages and benefits brought into line with the AVERAGE american.

  6. Corporate beggary is a tradition with historic routes. In fact, corporations had no right to exist after the First Great Depression (The Second is in progress). Congress helped banks (the blood of corporations) by giving them tax money at the beginning of the century. Those banks had to die out according to the laws of competition and Social Darwinism (the laws imposed upon the majority of Americans). This time the story repeats. All the companies which cannot afford existence have to die out (like you when you lose your job and have no money to pay for life attributes). But the oligophrens in the government have completely lost they minds. They are leading the country into chaos (13 million unemployed by the end of the year + Party for socialism and liberation + China&Russia). All the conditions for the country to be broken apart and conquered.