Detroit Auto CEOs' PR Suicide

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[Black Star News Editorial]

The three CEOs of the Big Three auto companies did something great with their dumb display of total insensitivity.

General Motor's Rick Wagoner, Ford's Alan Mulally, and Chrysler's Bob Nardelli inadvertently exposed what the real problem was when they flew down to Washington, D.C., to beg for $25 billon dollars from the government ---- in their private corporate jets.

The cost of the CEOs' flights to DC and back to Detroit was estimated at about $20,000 each. A commercial flight would have cost each CEO about $600.

At a time when the country is convulsing with the shock of the financial meltdown, massive job losses, spreading hunger in some urban areas, the captains of the U.S. auto industry did not even blink an eye; they took private planes to Washington.

The CEOs are clueless and out of touch with regular Americans already suffering from the brunt of economic downsizing, or from the fears of impending layoffs. How can these CEOs be trusted with such massive sums of money? If they cannot even pretend to be frugal under the prevailing financial and economic conditions how can these men be trusted to deploy the $25 billion they are seeking to productive use?

Their actions are completely unacceptable and amount to political and public relations suicide. Public opinion will now prevent Congress from approving any significant sums of money for the car industry so long as these CEOs remain at the helm.

So, in retrospect, their acts of folly was a complete blessing. The government can now tie any funding for each of the car companies to the resignations of the three CEOs.

That must be only one of the conditions.

The most important conditions must be for General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler to produce a business plan that shows by when (a) each of their companies will produce significant amounts of fuel efficient cars and in what quantities (b) show by when each company will produce "green" cars, employing electric or solar energy and in what quantities (c) show their plan for work force restructuring, including salaries for remaining employees, and (d) show the level of across the board pay cuts that company executives will immediately take.

Finally, in return for the investment and loan, government should take a partnership role in each company.

Barring these steps; no federal bailout for these companies.

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