Auto CEOs Flew Private Jets To Washington To Ask For Your Tax Money

ABCNews says that the big three auto CEOs “flew to the nation’s capital yesterday in private luxurious jets to make their case to Washington that the auto industry is running out of cash and needs $25 billion in taxpayer money to avoid bankruptcy.”

Just because your company is on the verge of bankruptcy– well, that’s no reason not to arrive in style. Right?

From ABC:

All three CEOs – Rick Wagoner of GM, Alan Mulally of Ford, and Robert Nardelli of Chrysler – exercised their perks Tuesday by flying in corporate jets to DC. Wagoner flew in GM’s $36 million luxury aircraft to tell members of Congress that the company is burning through cash, asking for $10-12 billion for GM alone.

“We want to continue the vital role we’ve played for Americans for the past 100 years, but we can’t do it alone,” Wagoner told the Senate Banking Committee.

While Wagoner testified, his G4 private jet was parked at Dulles airport. It is one of eight luxury jets in the GM fleet that continues to ferry executives around the world despite the company’s dire financial straits.

ABC estimated that the trip cost GM $20,000, as opposed to a first class ticket on Northwest Airlines flight 2364 from Detroit to Washington — which would have cost about $800.

Amazingly, private jets are a luxury that even free-spending AIG is reconsidering.

AIG, despite the $150 billion bailout, still operates a fleet of corporate jets. The company says it has put two out of its seven jets up for sale and is reviewing the use of others. Though there are no such plans by GM or Ford.

Big Three CEOs Flew Private Jets to Plead for Public Funds [ABC]
(Photo: Bonita Sarita )

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. everfade says:

    F*ck the bailout or loan. They can’t even excersize fiscal responsibility when they are in financial trouble. Then they have the gall to ask the public for money.

    • blackmage439 says:

      @everfade: Exactly. I have this conclusion that the world will never be a good place for the common folk until we either:

      A) Abolish money and work towards the betterment of mankind, ala the Federation in Star Trek, or

      B) Allow the public more say in business affairs. Before you scream “SOSHALIST!11!!11!” hear me out. Sure companies and stock holders can try and impose caps on CEO pay, or take money out of their salaries to pay for their own bailout (as it should be; executives should be responsible for the fate of their company), or allow the government to heavily tax them. Let’s break each of those down, shall we.

      Imposing caps on CEO pay and raiding their coffers for funds does nothing in the long run but perpetuate rampant inflation. When the going is good again, these executives will just approve themselves massive pay raises. It’s “their” company, they should be able to do what they want, right? Allowing the government to tax them and get involved also provides its own slippery slope. What guarantee does the public have that the government will use that money intelligently? Oh, there’s the Socialism Monster knocking at the door again.

      Until the rich are held accountable for their actions, and enough people decide when massive amounts of millions or billions in a monthly paycheck for a single exec. is too much, we’ll only see a perpetual cycle of the rich becoming richer at the expense of the commoner. We have a duty to safeguard our future, and not allow these rich bastards who sit on their asses all day and do nothing but collect a paycheck as their worker’s health benefits and paychecks shrink, prices and unemployment rise, and everyone’s stock plummets.

      Do I have an answer as to how we could implement such controls, even well deserved as they are? I wouldn’t know where to begin. I just know SOMETHING needs to be done.

      • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

        @blackmage439: i was actually going to scream COMMIE!

        at any rate, i don’t think the public really should have any say in the way a business handles itself… UNLESS they ever want the possibility of public money.
        or, at least, once they ask for public money, we should be able to dictate some of their spending… like “no more private jets” and “sell the jets, then we’ll talk about more money”

  2. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Come on, you didn’t really think these people were going to get some real sense of practicality and fly a commercial airline, right? No wonder these companies are losing money, and are in debt. When push comes to shove, they won’t even quit flying luxury planes. It’s like driving up to Salvation Army in a Bentley to scour the racks for a $1.50 pair of pants.

  3. Chols says:

    Wow, just…wow

  4. Git Em SteveDave loves this guy--> says:

    I think it’s kind of sensationalism to state the price of the jet itself. It’s not like they just bought this jet. This is a jet that they have had. Also, as for the price of a commercial ticket, when would that ticket have to be purchased? I have read many a story here about how booking a flight on short notice costs a HUGE sum of money. How much notice did they have to appear? I can see how this is a LITTLE excessive, but I think some more journalism on ABC’s part and less flash could have made the original story more newspaper worthy, and less tabloid worthy.

    • sinfuly Delicious says:

      @Git Em SteveDave loves this guy–>: Couple of things… By using the airlines they are supporting them and helping them stay afloat. As opposed to saying F.U. American Air. I got my own ride.

      Isnt that whats happening to them? You want me to buy your car? F.U. Ill take the bus.

      • Git Em SteveDave loves this guy--> says:

        @sinfuly Delicious: Well, they are helping their pool of pilots out, the air traffic controllers, their ground support crew, the fuel guys at the remote airport, etc…. That’s where the cost of these flights comes from, all the personnel that need to be employed to let these planes fly.

      • Valhawk says:

        @sinfuly Delicious: Your acting like the airlines deserve anyone’s support, which is just wrong.

    • KhaiJB says:

      @Git Em SteveDave loves this guy–>:

      think on this : the cost of the ticket vs the cost of fuel, landing fees, staff wages (pilot, co pilot, cabin staff)….

      so. a ticket at short notice is still not worth it?

    • crabbyman6 says:

      @Git Em SteveDave loves this guy–>: From the article:
      Wagoner’s private jet trip to Washington cost his ailing company an estimated $20,000 roundtrip. In comparison, seats on Northwest Airlines flight 2364 from Detroit to Washington were going online for $288 coach and $837 first class.

      • Git Em SteveDave loves this guy--> says:

        @crabbyman6: I read that, which is why I asked when the flight they got the price for was booked for.

        @idip: I admitted I didn’t know what the price difference was for booking on short notice, but was basing my answer on what I have read here regarding people trying to switch flights at the airport, and it costing a phenomenal amount.

      • Traveshamockery says:

        @crabbyman6: That $20,000 estimate is based on what again?

        Also, the price from Detroit to Washington appears to be a one-way ticket…they don’t specify round trip.

        Keep in mind they brought more than just one person. If they brought the CEO and 9 lackeys (pretty likely), you’re talking about 10 x $800 for first class tickets = $8,000, assuming that’s a round-trip ticket.

        They couldn’t have flown in, testified, and left on the same day with a commercial airline. Add in hotel costs to the ticket costs…hotel wouldn’t be an issue if you have your own plane.

        • OletheaEurystheus says:

          @InfiniTrent: 20,000 seems about right for cost prep, piloting and fueling.

          Its not like your car you know, you cant just get in and take off, you need a good 1-2 hours of prepping the plane both takeoff and turnover. And fuel is NOT cheap. Our gas is, but jetfuel is a lot more expensive, and the smaller planes are not very fuel efficient.

        • usa_gatekeeper says:

          @InfiniTrent: Ten (give or take) Company execs/assistants (read “VPs”) on the same plane? Nor real smart. I thought most companies forbade such behavior and made execs fly on multiple aircraft.

        • usa_gatekeeper says:

          @InfiniTrent: Actually, if they wanted to win some points, they should’ve assigned the planes to be used for mercy /medical flights, e.g. [www.dmoz.org] while they took Northwest to DC.

          • Git Em SteveDave loves this guy--> says:

            @usa_gatekeeper: While a nice gesture, why should they spend 20,000 to send some person on a mercy flight when they can get a first class ticket on Northwest for ~$900.00? There’s no excuse for sending one or two people on a plane while the heads of GM are asking for money! /sarcasm

    • idip says:

      @Git Em SteveDave loves this guy–>: Just an FYI: I just checked with NWA and there is a flight from Detroit to Washington DC. TODAY for $813 first class.

      SO…uh… I think you just got “oh snapp’ed”.

      Now to us, 800 dollars is a ‘huge’ sum on money, but when you’re comparing it to $20,000. Hmm… that’s what? $19,187 in savings. That’s a lot.

      The price of the jet is completely relavent. Is it absolutely necessary for them to buy a private jet to zip ONE person around the country at the cost of thousands of dollars per ride? No.

      If they want to, let them. But they are not using MY tax money to do it.

      • B says:

        @idip: Enough to buy a new Saturn Astra or Ford Focus or Dodge, uhhh, Caliber?

      • Traveshamockery says:

        @idip: Is it absolutely necessary for them to buy a private jet to zip ONE person around the country at the cost of thousands of dollars per ride? No.
        Don’t be absurd. They didn’t buy the plane just for this flight. And they didn’t fly just one person – they flew an entire group.

        • edebaby says:

          @InfiniTrent: yeah, an entire group…for ONE dude to speak to congress. Great work on that “efficiency” thing.

          Seems like that’s a problem in and of itself.

    • oneliketadow says:

      @Git Em SteveDave loves this guy–>: Even if they paid $3000 for the last minute ticket, that’s less than it costs to pay a pilot (or two) a flight attendant, buy fuel, and pay landing fees to fly one clueless exec to DC.

      • Traveshamockery says:

        @oneliketadow: Wrong. The pilot and crew isn’t paid by the flight, they’re salaried and are paid whether the plane flies or not.

        Think, people.

        • humphrmi says:

          @InfiniTrent: OK so what if they stop flying private jets altogether, and save the cost of the pilot too? Or ask the pilot to work part-time, only when they need him – it’s not like the job market for pilots is booming, I’m sure they can save some money somewhere. If they cared to.

      • QuantumRiff says:

        @oneliketadow: Right, then they could even afford to send their execs to some basic economics classes at the local community college!

    • Shadowman615 says:

      @Git Em SteveDave loves this guy–>: The roundtrip flight itself cost $20,000. Way more than the price of even an last-minute ticket.

    • crabbyman6 says:

      @Git Em SteveDave loves this guy–>: Seriously, did you even read the entire consumerist blurb let alone glance at the article? In the blurb it says approximately how much a round trip first class ticket is. The article lists the exact price of that, the exact price of coach AND a flight number.

      • Git Em SteveDave loves this guy--> says:

        @crabbyman6: YES, I read the entire article. In fact, it’s still open in a seperate tab on my browser. It says that, but DOES NOT say when that ticket would be for. Which is why I asked how far in advance that ticket would have to be purchased for THAT amount. I can book a flight three months from now on Priceline for $100. But if I get served with papers telling me to show up tomorrow in Washington, I doubt that ticket will cost me that same $100. I was wondering that based on articles and reports I have seen about how much trying to book a flight on short notice can cost.

        • campredeye says:

          @Git Em SteveDave loves this guy–>: I have some snake oil for you to buy if you think a last minute plane ticket from major city to major city is anywhere near $20,000

          • Git Em SteveDave loves this guy--> says:

            @campredeye: For the last time, I didn’t think a last minute plane ticket cost THAT much. But for more than one person on a short notice flight, where they might not even have enough first class seats available, given the articles I have read on this site, I guesstimated that they would prolly be ~$1200.00 to do a short notice booking.

            So an “estimated” $20,000 flight which almost gaurentees that you can make it to a hearing you MUST show up for would be justified if the less reliable alternative is: a ~$10,000(8 people at the assumed price of $1200) flight where you can not
            1. confer with your council as you would be waiving any attorney client privileged as you made a statement a:somewhere where your expectation of privacy is essentially 0% and b:being made in the presence of third parties
            2. have no access to all the documents and services you could on a private jet
            3. not even be gaurenteed the amount of seats you require or even in the same section so you can’t confer with your assistants/other executives
            4. be at the mercy of the airlines schedule and any problems your jet may encounter, as transferring a jumbo jet full of people is much harder logistically than a private jet
            5. have no guarantee that anything you couldn’t carry on the flight with you will make it to your final destination
            6. etc….

            It seems to make the most sense to go with the almost sure option. I hate to get on a slippery slope, but are we going to lambaste them for sending documents FedEx when they could have mailed them USPS Priority mail cuz it’s cheaper and it will probably get there the same time?

            • humphrmi says:

              @Git Em SteveDave loves this guy–>:

              1. Confer with council before or after the flight.

              2. Pack a briefcase.

              3. There is more than one airplane going where you want to go, promise. Confer with executives / assistants before or after the flight.

              4. See #3

              5. Pack it all in carry-on like the employees you make do the same thing so you can save the checked bag fee.

              They’re going on a trip to ask Congress for our tax dollars. They can at least do a little work to make it look like they actually need it.

          • TreyWaters says:

            @campredeye: “…if you think a…plane ticket from major city to major city is anywhere near $20,000″

            I’m too lazy to look it up right now, but a few years ago when I flew to London, a first class ticket on the same flight I was on was ~$13,000 (non-stop flight: RDU – LGW). And that was a few weeks in advance.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Git Em SteveDave loves this guy–>:
      Its not sensationalism if you consider they could be selling those jets to recoup some of the cash they require for operating costs. The CEOs are so used to being lavished in luxury, that it may be a culture shock, but then again, so would be losing your position and causing the fall of a legacy company thats been around far longer than you have.

      As far as booking the flights late, even with all these ridiculous fees they’ve started gouging us with, it still wouldnt come to 20 grand. If they were in fact on a mission to convince us they need a bailout, they should probably try and show they’re helping on their end.

    • tande04 says:

      @Git Em SteveDave loves this guy–>: I agree with you SteveDave (at least your core point) its sensationalist journalism and nothing more.

      So what if they would of taken a commercial jet. ABC would of been reporting, “Big three CEOs spend $100 on drinks in first class lounge: Could of snuck a flask full of burbon in for 3/4 the cost”.

      Or how would you like to be the guy that got the center seat between the CEO and his advisor on that flight, they’d be yelling business strategy over you the whole flight while you’re trying to read your book, then the other CEO would pop up from the row in front from time to time “hey, you guys talking about the bailout, I thought I heard you talking about the bailout…No, you weren’t…I thought I heard…”

      Or you’re sitting in the waiting area and you look over and hey, there is the big 3’s CEOs writting down their arguments for the bailout on the back of napkins. Yeah, thats going to instill confidence in me.

      This is such a moot point IMO its not even funny. All of the massive problems they have to worry about this doesn’t even hit the top 40 list.

    • hi says:

      @Git Em SteveDave loves this guy–>:

      This is a like the guy who just got a raise at work and shows up to your house in a limo and asks you for money.

    • AtomicPlayboy says:

      @Git Em SteveDave loves this guy–>: I basically agree with most of the backlash against your argument that this isn’t necessarily an extravagant expenditure. It is. However, I think that your salient point about media sensationalism was lost in the thread. You are correct that ABC included the cost of the jet only for sensationalism, as it’s not germane. Everyone looks bad on this one.

      On a side note, I hope everyone understands that we need our executives to fly on their own personal jets to keep the small jet industry in business, right? Otherwise, we would lose our national ability to produce jet fighters! Just like we need to bail out GM so we can still build tanks. Nonsense.

    • J.Heck says:

      @Git Em SteveDave loves this guy–>: Has anyone in these comments considered that maybe the pilot and the staff has a contract with GM/Ford/Chrysler? If that’s the case, then, they can’t really stop paying them unless they’ve filed for bankruptcy. And if that’s the case… might as well use what you’ve got if you’re still paying them?

      • stevejust says:

        @citnos: I fly on private planes often enough. And we have salaried pilots on staff. A lot of people who have planes rent the pilots. I’m sure you’re correct that GM has salaried pilots

        [i]But[/i] you still have to pay for fuel and fees to land to the airport and fees to the flight support where you park/deplane and gas.

        There are ONLY two times it becomes more economical to fly a private plane than getting a first class ticket. The first is when you have multiple people to fly, and you fly the private jet full. The second time it can become economical is when you’re flying to a small airport that isn’t serviced by commercial carriers, and the cost of down time in traveling from the bigger regional airports is worth “more money” than it would take to drive that distance.

        Basically, except for convenience, it doesn’t matter whether you own the plane and the pilots. Flying in private planes always costs more.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I really doubt that flying private jets is causing GM to lose money. It may have to do with producing inferior products. That, and consumers can’t get loans to buy said products anyway.

    • everfade says:

      @MeSoHornsby: However if they are so strapped for cash wouldn’t it have been wiser to just fly first class on a commercial airline? I mean come on.

      • Anonymous says:

        @everfade: True, and it does look bad, but there are far bigger issues to worry about with the big three.

      • ohiomensch says:

        @InfiniTrent:

        they should fly coach and squeeze in with the rest of us sardines. They should offer to take pay cuts as well, I don’t see any of them offering that either.

        There is something to be said about symbolic gestures. It would be geniune show of the seriousness of their concerns, regardless of how much money it really saves.

        • Traveshamockery says:

          @ohiomensch: I agree that their decision to fly private jets sends the wrong message. My argument is just that financially, it was probably best for them to fly:

          - The plane they already own, using the pilot and crew they already pay…
          – To avoid a multi-day hotel stay (fly in one day, testify the next, fly out the following day)

          I think ABC’s $20,000 estimate is inflammatory bunk.

      • Traveshamockery says:

        @everfade: No, since they already own the plane, pay the crew, etc. Their only cost in flying private was the jet fuel. Everything else is already budgeted and paid for.

    • hungryhungryhorus says:

      @MeSoHornsby:

      I really see it more as a testament at how GM clearly does not even know where to begin when saving money. They haven’t really tried.

      Unfortunately it’s probably mostly the culture in this country.

      For an opposing example, a GM owned company in Germany(Opel) is having trouble. What was their plan? Ask for money? No, their plan is to try to get loan guarantees so that investors will know that they will be able to finance changes, and feel more comfortable about investing. Their goal isn’t getting free money, it’s to get the free market investing in them again.

      It’s the difference between someone asking their father to pay for their 15th semester as a philosophy major and another person asking their father to co-sign on student loans for business school.

    • TechnoDestructo says:

      @MeSoHornsby:

      That one trip cancelled out the revenues from the sale of one vehicle. Yes, it is causing them to lose money. It is a small cause, looking at the big picture, but it is still a cause.

  6. nataku8_e30 says:

    Let’s pretend for a second that the CEOs are paid an hourly wage. Would the time saved by flying on a private jet * the CEO’s adjusted hourly wage cost more or less than the cost of operating the private jet? They should probably just sell the jet, reduce CEO compensation to near 0 and make them fly commercial airlines until their companies are back in black.

    • TechnoDestructo says:

      @nataku83:

      Pay executives a fixed salary, plus stock which they cannot sell for several years after it is granted. It’s what UBS (one of the foreign banks that was asking for money, and one of the main ones in that tax evasion scandal a few months ago) is doing.

      [www.reuters.com]

      It gives them a stake in the long-term success of the company as opposed to just getting their while the getting is good.

      • Valhawk says:

        @TechnoDestructo: I think you missed the pretend part.

        @nataku83: Then the CEO will quit, and you won’t have anyone with experience running a multi-billion dollar company, which despite what people seem to think is not easy job.

  7. Trai_Dep says:

    You know, they could have at least driven a Prius.

  8. AnonyLawyer says:

    The private jet use is an executive perk approved by the comp committees of the board of directors of these companies…It may not be the cost of the jet use that is causing these companies to lose money, but the culture of excessive executive compensation should not be rewarded with taxpayer funds.

  9. sir_eccles says:

    There was a thing in the NYTimes the other day about how much money GM has pissed away on sports sponsorship in the past five years. Hundreds and hundreds of millions every year. It’s pretty much twice what Toyota has been spending. If I was a shareholder I’d be asking some pretty big questions.

    [www.nytimes.com]

    • Git Em SteveDave loves this guy--> says:

      @sir_eccles: Have they “pissed” it away? It’s advertising. It’s why I associate Mike Rowe w/Ford. It works in that I think of Ford when I watch Dirty Jobs, but it doesn’t in that I wouldn’t own a Ford ever again.

    • Traveshamockery says:

      @sir_eccles: Right, because advertising doesn’t help sell anything.

      • sir_eccles says:

        @InfiniTrent: I’m not saying you don’t need to advertise, I’m saying you don’t need to spend twice what Toyota spends.

        • Git Em SteveDave loves this guy--> says:

          @sir_eccles: Is that twice what Toyota spends in the US, or worldwide? B/c I’m guessing Toyota spends more worldwide than GM does. GM also has more “brands” than Toyota does. There’s GMC, Chevrolet, Hummer, Buick, Pontiac, SAAB, Cadillac and Saturn.

  10. Trai_Dep says:

    By commuting in a $65m Gulfstream G4 jet, they’re doing their wingnut duty to stick it to the unions. So… Win?!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Maybe it’s time that UAW does some real sole searching. Do we want to make good quality cars at a reasonable price. This may mean a reduction in pay. Or do we want to be without a job. This may mean a huge reduction in pay

  12. SarcasticDwarf says:

    Big frigging deal. Time IS money for these guys and they have a hell of a lot better things to be doing than waiting around in an airport for their flight. Sure, they could have flown cheaper but they would have spent a lot more time traveling and been subject to delays (do YOU want to explain to Congress that you missed your flight and were late!).

    • Git Em SteveDave loves this guy--> says:

      @SarcasticDwarf: Don’t forget the cars/drivers they would have to rent, and the hotel rooms/suites they would have to book.

    • campredeye says:

      @SarcasticDwarf: I am sure they have better things to do, like sipping champagne on their G4. Maybe they should try something like making better business decisions instead? Also, they went to beg for money, they didn’t have a meeting, there was no timetable. RTFA.

      Seriously, are you guys just trying to look cool defending the big rich guys? People pulled that wool off their eyes this past decade.

    • Gokuhouse says:

      @SarcasticDwarf: Maybe they shouldn’t be paid so much in the future. I can make decisions that run a company into bankruptcy too, can I have a multimillion dollar salary?

    • QuantumRiff says:

      @SarcasticDwarf: See, the thing is, if Exec’s and Legislators didn’t have this attitude, they would fly commercial. And then, some of the more assinine “security theatre” TSA rules would get tossed. If important people had to ride like the common folk, hell would be raised, and service would improve!

    • hungryhungryhorus says:

      @SarcasticDwarf: And everyone knows that you can’t do work while waiting for a plane…

      Honestly, I’m not surprised you found your way onto the internet, but I am a bit surprised that you figured out how to use it.

    • cerbie says:

      @SarcasticDwarf: or, they could actually work on good cars. Where’s the R&D into compact car diesels? If VW diesels that are quite powerful can get 40MPG, where’s the 50+ MPG 75 HP engine in a small car? No hybrid issues.

      Why did they destroy the EV1s, and then let the idea sit, even with the big PR mess it caused? They could have seen that, and gone, “hey, we should look at a real consumer electric car,” and they could have had the Volt out by now.

      Why didn’t they start making more efficient cars as soon as oil prices started going up?

      • cerbie says:

        @cerbie: (I hot enter, oops) Why didn’t they say, “screw it all, we need to come down to three brands!” ?

        …etc, etc.. The Asian companies tend to lack in trying new ideas, but the American companies like to stay too far behind the ball. They need to keep options open, have light R&D going on in many different areas, maybe try polling car owners for trends, even…

        Last, but not least, they need to get car people into management, not generic management people. IMO, it would be a boon to have people in management who, “got it,” and could resonate with the consumers of the cars.

      • cerbie says:

        @crabbyman6: I can see that. Being CEO might be very stressful, and leaving that whole environment could be a major boon to one’s health.

        The point here is the, “let them eat cake,” situation, which their being blindsided about their private jet flight exemplifies. They could have mentioned details about why they flew as a comment to the questioning (people do that all the time in congressional hearings–I watch ones I care about on C-SPAN, when I think about it). They didn’t. They didn’t offer any concessions. That’s the point. Being a CEO of one of such huge companies should have major perks!

        The problem is that they were not in any way empathizing with anyone not in their world. They are all used to deciding what consumers want, rather than following the lead of their customers, and keeping options open (IE, small R&D projects kept on the back-burner that could go somewhere in the right circumstance). It’s not unlike Paulson’s friends with the other bailout (I’m glad to see so many reps totally pissed about that, too). They need to shape up, but don’t have any real sense of why anyone thinks they have been doing wrong.

  13. unpolloloco says:

    How is the bailout going to help the long-term prospects of GM at all? They don’t make good or reliable cars, so fewer and fewer people buy them. Ford might have a shot at pulling through if the economy rebounds fairly soon because their cars can make it off the lot without breaking down. A bailout will only delay the inevitable for GM. Ford *might* be helped by some short-term loans.

  14. jcargill says:

    No! No! No!

    It’s the union’s fault!
    It’s the union’s fault!!!

    Please, listen to meeeeeee…

    Union’s faaaauuuultttttt!!!

    Awwww….!

  15. jcargill says:

    Did I mention it’s the union’s fault?

  16. mergatroy6 says:

    All these automakers want a bail out, but over time they have moved operations to Mexico and other countries. Why aren’t they asking these other countries for help? Why does America have to handle the financial burden?

    GM hasn’t been competitive because they started designing ugly cars and using 1 body style and just varying the size.

    Chrysler is in trouble because they are Chrysler and they kept trying to buy other auto makers.

    All of this is the result of poor planning and decisions by the automakers. Unless I’m buying a car from them, the big three shouldn’t get any of my money.

    Ford is terrible because all they did was build bigger and bigger trucks and constantly re-name their vehicles.

  17. Traveshamockery says:

    They already own the private plane, and are already paying the pilots a salary (paid whether they fly or not), maintenance, etc. Wouldn’t it be reasonable to fly that private plane, instead of buying a bunch of tickets for all the people you’re going to take with you?

    Multiple people could fly together on the private plane (they brought more than one person) Buying a ticket on Northwest would have been like renting a car to when you already own a car.

    If you can fly eight people on a private plane you’ve already paid for, isn’t that probably less expensive than 8 x $800 first class tickets?

    /Devil’s advocate

    • Piaculum says:

      @InfiniTrent: “If you can fly eight people on a private plane you’ve already paid for, isn’t that probably less expensive than 8 x $800 first class tickets?”

      No, it’s not. RTFA.

      8 X $800 (hell, let’s just call it a cool thousand for arguments sake) = $8000

      ABC estimated that the trip cost GM $20,000

      • Traveshamockery says:

        @Piaculum: ABC estimated that the trip cost GM $20,000

        You say RTFA…I say UYFB (Use your effing brain).

        On what did ABC base this $20,000 estimate? The plane, it’s crew, and everything is already paid for. Fuel didt not cost $20,000 for the round trip flight.

        And did you consider for a moment that there are costs beyond that $8000 of plane tickets? Hotel rooms (since you can fly in, testify, and fly out on the same day), additional rental car fees (longer stay), etc. are all costs that become relevant when you stay more than a day.

        The $20K has no logical basis in reality. They don’t say how they came up with that number. Use your brain and think about things instead of just regurgitating what ABC feeds you.

        • Pylon83 says:

          @InfiniTrent:
          ABC’s number certainly does have a logical basis in reality, but only when you factor in the fixed costs associated with owning such an airplane. Most of the time, the hourly operational rate does indeed include all those numbers, though it’s not exactly representative of the actual outlay at the time of the flight. Some of the $20k is maintenance, which on a G4 is insanely expensive. Also, some of it goes to the two pilots it takes to fly a G4, whom with benefits and training costs probably cost $250k/year total. You also have hangar fees, line crew and hangar staff, etc. that have to be paid, and the cost of which is usually figured into the TOTAL hourly expense. When everything is taken into account, $10k/hr is pretty darn close for a G4 that is operated an average number of hours per year (probably 500 or so).

        • campredeye says:

          @InfiniTrent: Yeah! Screw an accredited journalistic news sources credibility!

          • Pylon83 says:

            @campredeye:
            I don’t think he’s saying their number isn’t “credible” (Well,maybe he is), but I’m certainly not. That said, the number they chose is a bit sensationalistic and isn’t exactly representative of the actual marginal cost for that one flight. Of course, ABC’s goal wasn’t so much to convey totally unbiased information, it was to generate traffic due to the headline. Can’t really fault them when the number is “technically” correct.

      • Pylon83 says:

        @Piaculum:
        The figure that ABC estimated surely includes the fixed costs as well as the actual costs for this particular trip. The vast majority of the operational costs of a jet are fixed costs and maintenance. Fuel isn’t cheap, but it’s not $20k for a trip that’s only about 1hr each way. It’s roughly 350 nautical miles from DTW to IAD (Detroit to Dulles). A G4 cruises at 450 knots. Accounting from climb and decent, lets say 1hr each way. A G4 burns ~700 gallons of fuel in it’s first hour, and 450 gallons for every hour after that. So we’ll be conservative and say they burned 700 gallons of fuel each way. Jet-A in DTW is currently 5.45/gallon for a normal person. I think it’s safe to assume GM doesn’t pay that much, so lets put fuel at 4.50/gallon. Gas at Dulles is ~6.50/gallon, and it’s safe to assume they paid that (though they likely didn’t even buy fuel there). So we’ll average fuel at 5.50/gallon for 1400 gallons. That’s $7,700 in fuel. When you factor in Maintenance and other fixed costs (insurance, debt service, pilot salaries and benefits, chart services, GPS updates, etc), it is easily $20k, but a lot of that you’re paying whether the plane sits or flys. Take into account that, plus the cost of all the peoples time who went along, and flying the jet they already own doesn’t seem that absurd. In fact, it starts to seem rational.

        • Traveshamockery says:

          @Pylon83: Thanks Pylon, you put some numbers to the message I was preaching.

          A lot of people don’t understand the difference in fixed and variable costs. In this case, almost all the costs are fixed…the fuel is the only variable cost, and it’s less than the cost of flying ten people private.

    • ponycyndi says:

      @InfiniTrent: How about we pretend for a minute how much money they could save by selling the jets?

    • QuantumRiff says:

      @InfiniTrent: I think your missing the point. I have a friend that works groundcrew (mechanic) on a private companies fleet. Each mechanic costs $85k/year. (more than 1 per plane) Two $120k/year pilots sitting on standby, for each jet. $45k/year stewardess. Large, very expensive hanger and airport slip to store them. He said that the learjet he works on costs about $750,000 a year to order the parts that get scheduled to be replaced after x hours. You are right that it is already paid for. However, why is it paid for in the first place? There is a HUGE expense keeping these jets running, even after they are paid for.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I’m sick of hearing this insane negativity towards CEOs. Of course they are flying privately… they’re not going to sit in a damn airport for two hours each way, getting their rectums probed by the TSA!

    And quit it with the executive compensation / perks / bonuses / etc isn’t fair BS. These people steer the fate of entire industries for christ’s sake! Makes your piss ass little job of putting the right cover on your TPS report look petty at best. You go run a multi-billion dollar global company for a week and see if you still feel the same.

    It’s easy for the drive by media to run BS stories like this and attract public outcry… I agree with the previous commenter that a little more research would have been prudent. But of course then it wouldn’t be as attention getting… it might actually be a fair, well written article.

    Cheers!

    • jamar0303 says:

      @NathaniaChione: “These people steer the fate of entire industries for christ’s sake!”

      Yes… steered them right into the ground. Some negativity is more than justified.

  19. dancing_bear says:

    I think it is ironic that we have to bail them out, as a result of our not buying enough of their crappy cars.

    While I am pro-buyout, due to the massive domino of lost jobs that will be tipped if one of these companies goes down, it makes me sick. They should get what they deserve, but then we would all be fu

  20. Snarkysnake says:

    You have to grudgingly admire the arrogance of the Big 3 CEOs to fly to Washington in private jets,be chaufferred to the hill and look into the camera with a straight face and demand AT LEAST 50 billion dollars to save their companies.Especially Bob Nardelli and Rick Wagoner.(CEO’s ,for the moment, of Chrysler and GM respectively)

    Lets review : Wagoner has collected over $100 million dollars in salary,bonus and options since he started killing GM in the late 90’s.When he gets his incompetent hands on your tax money,there is no reason to believe that he won’t help himself to even more.

    Robert Nardelli has already wrecked one company : Home Depot.He’s the dumbass that ordered HD to stock lawn mowers in Arizona where nobody has a grassy yard. To this day, HD employees will tell you that Nardelli destroyed their company and it still has not recovered.
    Here’s the real insulting part – Nardelli is the sock puppet for Chryslers real owners,Cerberus Capital . These are some of the richest people in America.How do you feel working at your job knowing that the government is taking part of the money that you earned this week to bail these people out ? Like it ?
    Only Alan Mulaly at Ford has ever accomplished anything of note. He ran Boeing pretty well and seems to have Ford positioned well with small cars and other new products that people might actually want to buy. He should be ashamed to be up there begging with thse other two losers .

  21. crabbyman6 says:

    Wow, I don’t know if anyone else noticed this and it ticked them off as bad as it ticks me off. Most people move to be near their job, apparently that’s not a problem when you’re asking for taxpayer money.

    Ford CEO Mulally’s corporate jet is a perk included for both he and his wife as part of his employment contract along with a $28 million salary last year. Mulally actually lives in Seattle, not Detroit. The company jet takes him home and back on weekends.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @crabbyman6: Yes.

      This and the private jet to Washington are illustrations of the larger problem here, which is that these CEOs refuse to make any change to help the company if it will inconvenience them in any way.

      Their companies are about to fail but they won’t take a cut in pay, move closer to work, take commercial flights instead of private jets, etc. Pay cuts and moving for your job are things for lesser beings to do, apparently.

      I get what the Devil’s Advocates are saying, I do. I just don’t believe that they took the private jets just to make sure they’d be on time. I think they took the jets because it didn’t even occur to them that they ought to do otherwise to save money.

  22. hals000 says:

    I am sorry to say it guys but private jets save these CEOs time. Anything that saves time saves the coporation money. When these folks travel on a private jet they are chauffered to the FBO so on the way they can do work, also their jets have wireless internet allowing them to continue operating the company. If they flew commercially they would have to go through security, be limited in the use of electronics etc.. Factor the lost productivity in the cost of the commercial ticket and see where that gets you.

    Before I get flamed I am sort of just trying to play devil’s advocate here but think about it. These guys are getting paid more than 500 dollars an hour and to have them delayed on a commercial airliner is incredibly costly.

    • Git Em SteveDave loves this guy--> says:

      @hals000: Yet another good point. While on their flight, they can go over what they are going to say, have conference calls, confer w/counsel, etc. You can’t even get up to goto the bathroom 30 minutes before you land on a commercial flight, let alone have a conference, w/o being arrested when you land. And unless they use FedExKinkos, how can they ensure all their documents make it to Washington with them?

    • mikedt says:

      @hals000: I think this is the problem, that they ARE getting $500 an hour. Actually, that only works out to a million a year, so I’m pretty sure they’re making about 10 times that. But back to my point, they’ve managed to run their companies into the ground, loose market share every year, and yet still somehow manage to collect bonuses and stock options. They want money? Tell you what, they can have it if they replace the BOD and the CEO’s because they’ve pretty much proved they can’t run a company. During good times when they were making money hand over fist, did they reinvest, work on hybrids, or god forbid just sock the money away given the cyclical nature of the auto industry? NO, they went out and bought other car companies and pissed it away. Did GM really need Hummer?? Hell any auto-mag could have told you Hummers were a fad. Did Ford need Volvo or Jaguar? No. But I’m guessing the CEO wanted to drive to work in a Jag instead of a Lincoln.

  23. HClay says:

    I think there’s something really wrong with our society when people can be so grossly overpaid. Sure, the job is high pressure, and they should be paid well enough to live quite comfortably… but they can’t possibly do enough in a day to be worth millions.

    These higher ups have completely lost touch with reality and with the average person. I bet it didn’t even cross their minds that they should fly like the little people do, because being as rich as these folks are, it just doesn’t compute.

    • usul356 says:

      @HClay: I’m all for people getting rich on their own terms without ripping other people off. I think this kinda gross overpay also shows in professional sports. Why are these people getting payed millions to play a game while teachers teaching the future of our nation are payed minimal wages? Some things just don’t make sense. Then again we are the ones paying the tickets and buying the products these “professionals” endorse.

  24. MerlynNY says:

    Screw GM, Ford, and Chrysler. Let them go into Bankruptcy Court to straigten things out. Hopefully the government learned it’s lesson with AIG.

    • my_imaginary_friends_bore_me says:

      @MerlynNY: Screw you! If they go bankrupt I’m out of a job, I go in debt, I could lose my house.

      • RedwoodFlyer says:

        @my_imaginary_friends_bore_me: Maybe you should be on monster.com looking for jobs or at a Burger King flipping burgers to build a nest egg instead of pecking away at the consumerist?

        It’s not your fault that your employer bit the dust (unless you’re in a union, in which case you are at fault) but it’s not my fault either…

  25. costanza007 says:

    How about we make them fly commercial, since we’ve bailed out the airlines so many times already? Come on people, force the heads of the soon-to-be nationalized automakers to at least fly on the nationalized airlines. I don’t get why this is so hard to comprehend.

  26. Mikestan says:

    Stay Classy Auto CEOs.

  27. kryptonn says:

    I say NO BAILOUT!

    strike 1. they killed the electric car so they could pump out more craptastic vehicles with low mpg and high emissions.

    strike 2. that private flight must have cost upwards of $100K+. That right there is two employee’s wages for the year or benefits for several employees. I guess being comfortable for a 40-min flight is more important to these auto execs.

    strike 3. these guys are asking for a minimum bailout of $25 billion, yet they have not once demonstrated how they would effectively use the funds to fix and transform their business into something viable.

    Money will not solve the problem here.

  28. richcreamerybutter says:

    If selling the private jet on Ebay was good enough for Sarah Palin…?

    I can honestly say if the CEOs had quietly booked COACH tickets for this trip, I would get the impression they were sincere about changing their ways and believe their request might be a wise investment.

    • howie_in_az says:

      @richcreamerybutter: It actually didn’t sell on eBay and the state of Alaska wound up taking a hit when they managed to sell it via a third party company.

      • RedwoodFlyer says:

        @howie_in_az: And she bought a turboprop that was a hangar queen for herself to replace the jet…oh, and she flew the jet for quite awhile until she sold it.

        I agree about the flying coach thing…some symbolism goes a long long way! The CEO of Wal-Mart and the CFO share a Motel 6 room whenever they travel…and they usually fly coach on American Airlines…if that’s not an option, they have corporate jets, but they’re much much smaller and more utilitarian…much more cramped than even a regional jet!

        Or the management at Continental…earlier this year, they said that they will forgo their compensation and salary for the rest of the year…true, it’ll only make each employee about $1 richer each month, but it sets the tone that management is in the real world!

      • RedwoodFlyer says:

        @my_imaginary_friends_bore_me: Sheesh…for someone that could be out of a job soon, you sure do have quite a bit of free time to troll the internet!

  29. quizmasterchris says:

    The worst part of this is that the taxpayer also pays to subsidize private jets: [extremeinequality.org]

  30. tundey says:

    Why is it only these 3 CEOs begging for money? If Honda, Toyota and Mazda can survive, why can’t these bastards? I’ll tell you why. When Toyota and Honda were investing in hybrid technology years back, what were American car companies doing? Pushing hummers and expeditions. Well it’s time to face the music. I say let them go under. Otherwise, what’s to stop Microsoft, Google, Wal-Mart or other companies that employ millions of people to hold the country to ransom and demand bailout money?

  31. Mozoltov, motherfucker says:

    Let them go bankrupt. Get rid of UAW and all the other unions, which literally are sucking these companies dry. How do you expect to compete with companies like Nissan, Honda, and Toyota who make $5k-$7k per car when you only make $500 or so per car?

    And why weere they prodicing big thirsty V8s while everyone else was making 4 cylinders and v6’s?

    • my_imaginary_friends_bore_me says:

      @DJ Barrak: You want to pay my house payment?, my credit card bills, my car payment, my insurance?

      They were making V8 because that was what people wanted. They have been producing 4 and 6 cylinder engines

      Let’s cut your pay in half

      Let’s out-source your job

  32. viqas says:

    Im writing to my senator to loan them the money. The Goverment made a fuck load of money last time they lent the auto industry some money. This is better than the bail out plan.

    Plus we can put a catch in the loan, like better cars. make ford bring some of the cars that have value and quality in europe to the US.

    GM and ford needs to change. they need to change the whole organisation structure. They are competing against the Japanese, who are now the trendsetters because they adapt to the market’s demands quickly.

    • quizmasterchris says:

      @viqas: Every other industrialized country has stronger unions and more supportive union-related laws than we do. What’s stunning is how many American companies fail without the “burden” of operating in a country that doesn’t restrict union activity as the Taft-Hartley Act does.

      What’s even more stunning is that after US auto makers shipped hundreds of thousands of job overseas, to places with worse union laws than ours, right wingers are STILL pinning the executives’ failures on the assembly line workers!

  33. MyPetFly says:

    There are some practical reasons to use a corporate jet, but I won’t get into that here. However, I’m beginning to think the only thing that’s going to solve the problem of the rich getting richer by taking from the poorer (the only way, obviously) is for there to be some sort of revolution from below.

    Hopefully the incoming administration will be the one to implement a controlled and lawful revolution (of sorts), rather than having it fall to the masses.

  34. CountryJustice says:

    At least they all jet-pooled.

    eh?

  35. Anonymous says:

    The reason that they are losing money is because nobody is buying vehicles right now. Sales are at a all time low since WWII. And this month is shaping up like last month. GM owes 25 Billion to its suppliers, you imagine the ripple effect if GM goes into bankrupcy – You won’t be able to by parts for your vehicle anymore because nobody makes the parts but the suppliers are bankrupt as well.

  36. Bahnburner says:

    Oh, please. Save the faux outrage. They probably had catering for the meeting too…

  37. snwbrder0721 says:

    Look, I don’t like the idea of GM flying around it’s execs in fancy airplane anymore than everyone else commenting on here, but one thing that’s often overlooked is that many corporations REQUIRE their execs (or at least the CEO) to fly in the company plane for all business travel and sometimes even for personal travel. You could look at it as an unnecessary perk or maybe it’s a safety / time saving thing like some people have suggested. I think a good argument could be made for both sides.

  38. Mikestan says:

    Wait so let me make sure I understand this correctly.

    The auto CEOs want the taxpayers to bail them out so they could continue to produce “quality” cars that the ummm… taxpayers will buy?

    If my math is correct that would be 100% profit for the auto companies for any newly produced cars.

    Do I understand this correctly?

  39. madfrog says:

    You can argue all day long about the price of the jet and the cost of a ticket on a commerical carrier…what really get me is just the thought that they actually did this and then ask for money. BTW, did anyone catch that Senator from Tenn. on the hearing last night? I can’t remember his name but, boy, did he keep them on the hot seat! The minute they tried to go round and round in response to a question, he would say “that’s not what I asked, please just answer the question”. Loved it!

  40. buckfutt says:

    Further proof that Detroit is a clue-free zone.

  41. mike says:

    Oh come on! $800 for an airline ticket? I’d be at least $1600 once you tack on the fees!

    :-P

  42. opsomath says:

    The private jet thing is kind of stupid but par for the executive course. Whatever.

    As for the bailout,

    No. No, no, no, no, no, no. NONONONO. God, no. NO!

    That is all.

    (I could explain how bailing these companies out will just perpetuate the shite products they’ve inflicted on the country, but I don’t have to. Look out your window. See that Escalade? There’s your problem. Remember this industry has already received one major bailout in recent history. We really think a second will make the big breakthrough?)

  43. MyPetFly says:

    I haven’t read all the comments here, but there’s one alternative I haven’t seen anyone mention – timeshare aircraft. You get the benefits of having a corporate jet without having to pay for the whole thing.

    • MyPetFly says:

      @MyPetFly:

      More accurately, it should be called fractional ownership. Small nit to pick. : )

    • Pylon83 says:

      @MyPetFly:
      Fractional Ownership is only a good deal if you don’t fly very frequently. I suspect GM flies very, very frequently, given their scattered plants. Fractional is much more expensive on a per hour basis, and usually carries a pretty hefty monthly management fee. So if you’re flying more than about 100 hours a year or so (depends on the airplane), it’s a much better deal to own.

      • RedwoodFlyer says:

        @Pylon83: Actually, NetJets has plans for frequent users that are cheaper in the end…they find ways to make use of dead-legs, etc..and avoid repositioning flights, combine training, get bundles on the Jepp. charts, have a large parts inventory, etc etc. It’s usually noted as a 15/16ths fractional ownership on paper.

  44. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    Sure a first class ticket is only $800, but after you factor in all the blow you have to smuggle through security and having to buy seats for all the hookers AND having the flight attendants forbid use of the cabin for the Mile High Club, $20,000 sounds like a bargain.

  45. aftercancer says:

    Here’s an idea, the rest of us carpool when we have problems—-Jetpool!

  46. JiminyChristmas says:

    Not that this necessarily tempers anyone’s outrage, but the Big 3 CEOs traveling via private jet is not exactly unusual. I would be willing to wager that the overwhelming majority of Fortune 500 top executives have private, or at least charter, aircraft at their disposal.

    So, perhaps it’s a little sensationalistic to single out the auto CEOs for scrutiny. Then again, maybe the problem is what the business community has decided is typical for CEO travel arrangements.

    • jonmason1977 says:

      @JiminyChristmas: Yes, its not unusual, but if my previously successful business was in the crapper the first thought would be to cut out all the luxuries. the problem is with those clowns thinking “wow, we’re in the crap we need more money from the government” instead of thinking “wow, we’re in the crap we need to stop spending our company’s money on excessive items”

  47. JustineLagniappe says:

    America is no longer a Classless society. Our new royalty will rape us from on high. We let Europe to rid our lives of these parasites only to have them follow us and enslave us here! There arte no other unoccupied counties for us to go to – we must enhilate these sick bastards here and now! Revolt I say! Revolt!

  48. Tiber says:

    Many people have pointed out that the cost estimate for the private jets includes fixed costs such as salaries and maintenance. I say, so what? True, it doesn’t mean that every flight costs $20,000, but it does mean that it costs money even when no one is flying anywhere. It is also true that a private jet saves the CEO time, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the expense is justified.

    I have a crazy idea. Rather than every company having their own set of jets, why doesn’t an airline have its own special line of aircraft? The companies that use them pay a set amount for maintenance, plus a fee whenever they fly. Jet setting CEO’s still get their fancy planes with all the amenities. There is less waste because there are fewer unneeded airplanes, and it gives the airlines another source of income.

  49. andyfvp says:

    As discussed recently ( [www.savingtoinvest.com] ), take the emotions out people. Looking at the pro’s and cons we need to ask ourselves where will the displaced autoworkers go to if the big three go under. Big picture folks, now is the time to reform the industry and a bailout will give appartaus to do this.

    • jamar0303 says:

      @andyfvp: Um… Toyota? Honda? BMW? Off the top of my head, those are 3 of the “foreign” automakers that manufacture in America now (BMW does it in South Carolina and I can’t remember the rest).

  50. Anonymous says:

    ” hals000
    12:40 PM
    I am sorry to say it guys but private jets save these CEOs time. Anything that saves time saves the coporation money.”

    These CEOs are driving these companies into the ground, so whether they save an extra hour or two in the security line (and if they first class they get to bypass the main line btw), is not going to affect the way they’ve run the company, poorly for 10 or more years.

    it’s like the argument of high executive compensation… cos you need to ‘attract the best talent’.

    well the hundreds of millions paid to the CEOs of Citibank, Washington Mutual, Wachovia etc. etc. didn’t attract ANY talent. It attracted the WORST talent that bankrupted the company.

  51. crazyshoes says:

    Go Greyhound!

  52. kwsventures says:

    They should have been in luggage with pet ferrets.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @kwsventures: Hey, as a ferret owner, I resent that! Plus there aren’t any US Airlines left that will allow ferrets, in the cabin or underneath…but if you name drop my name to a Virgin America agent, we’ll definitely make an…ahem…exception for medical reasons!

  53. kwsventures says:

    The Ford CEO has done such a good job he serves a private jet and $28M per year salary. .. Sure.. I could find a monkey to do the job for less with the same GREAT results.

  54. Corporate-Shill says:

    Oh gee whiz.

    My former employer had 3 corporate jets sitting in Denver for immediate use by execs.

    I was stationed in LA. And the Prez of the company flew into town on one of the corporate jets to visit my team.

    Duh, what in hell, like there aren’t hourly flights between LAX and Denver?

    And when he left me, he flew down to San Diego… with the goal of flying to Salt Lake after he left SD.

    Except he never made the trip to Salt Lake. When he departed SD the new destination was Santa Fe due to some crisis or another.

    I haven’t checked, but I am pretty sure there are no direct flights between SD and Santa Fe.

    Screw the costs. Flexibility. No delays. Fly when you want, where you want. I would be surprised if company execs DIDN’T use a corp jet.

  55. Blue says:

    It used to be that the first thing to go when a company realized tough times, was the Aviation Department. I guess its just another sign of the(elitist’s) times that it is no-longer the case.

  56. jake.valentine says:

    This is just further evidence of how out of touch these executives are with society. Along the same lines as AIG having those expensive meetings after receiving taxpayer money.

    I hope they are allowed to sink or swim. Automakers have to learn to ensure the long term health of their company and lose their tunnel vision mentality from quarter to quarter. Their unions have to learn that it is possible to have too much success in labor negotiations…..so much success that they have played a significant role almost bankrupting their employer.

    I don’t feel sorry for the spoiled executives and I have a hard time feeling sorry for anybody who has a job that does not require an advanced education and yet earns on average over $70 an hour (salary/benefits). I was formally a “Buy American” guy, but what was the incentive for companies to improve? Besides, since buying my first Toyota I have not had anymore vehicle problems. They have earned a loyal customer because they make a reliable, fuel-efficient product.

  57. SynMonger says:

    You know, with United’s new list of fees, and the late booking notice the private jet flight was probably cheaper =/

  58. Anonymous says:

    It’s incredibly costly with what they pay these guys to have them delayed, not to mention that they should be spending their time working on their company’s problem, not sitting around in airports.

  59. Bargaineering.com says:

    It’s amazing how disconnected from reality these executives are. $20k round trip… do that twice and you can keep a factory worker employed for an entire year. Oh wait, they are executives of a major corporation!!! (not for long…)

  60. Aaron_Anderson says:

    back in the day when MP3s were becoming all the rage, and music execs said sales were dropping because of people thieving it and sharing mp3s; George Clinton said “mp3s aren’t killing the music industry, crappy music is killing the music industry”

    Apply to automakers?

  61. clocker says:

    I don’t think the point here has anything to do with private v. commercial flight.
    The underlying issue is the sheer boneheadedness of flying your Gulfstream to beg for money in terms of public relations.

    The fact that this has become a news item shows how stupid this was.

    So, let’s assume we give them the money.
    It’s going to take a massive and successful PR campaign to convince anyone to buy their product.
    Presumably, the same people who DIDN’T think this flight through will be at the helm of the “Please buy me!” campaign.

    See the problem?

  62. Anonymous says:

    Screw these dinosaurs – they have not made ANY innovations or substantial change(s) to their business models in years, if ever. Let them die and allow the innovative auto companies whom actually make vehicles that people want to buy – sustainable ones – prosper in their wake. This has been a long time coming, no surprise here.

  63. redkamel says:

    Ok look: a plane sitting on the ground. You own it. It costs 20000 dollars to use it. Or you can take a commercial flight for 800 bucks. It is no way cheaper to use the private jet. It doesnt matte if you own it, or if you pay everyones salary. Unless you have drums of jet fuel that expire in a few days and you cannot sell them, it is never going to be cheaper to fly your private jet.

    Executives get work done on a private jet? Lame excuse. its a 6 hour flight to Washington TOPS. Thats not that long. I am sure they have adequate contact in first class to get work done. Going to washington is 100x more important than an email anyways. Or heaven, forbid, they travel in during slow business hours at night.

    Its not like the money matters though. 19K is a drop in the bucket for this company. That will pay, what, 1/3 of one persons salary for a year? Its not like they are spending money on parties/offices/etc. Private jet is how head honchos travel, period. Its not going to look like they have lots of confidence in their company if they are trying to save every. single. cent. These guys need massive budget overhaul in the area of billions, not a one time thousands saving.

    of course, after the AIG fiasco, you’d think these boneheads would have learned their lesson. If you ask for bailout, DO NOT do things as if you had tons of spare money.

  64. GoVegan says:

    Figures! I wonder if everyone from management on down are going to try to soak these companies before they go bankrupt. It may be a little late but perhaps management and the employees should do a little interest based bargaining before they all go down the tubes.

  65. frodo_35 says:

    The culture of the elite and the ultra rich is the same as allways. We just see more with instant comm. I hope a comment I read above about a peacfull culture change with a new admin in washington comes to pass. I fear the message of “let them eat cake” from corp execs can be heard by to many to fast and could lead to some serious damage to our country in the long run. We see through the bs and spin and we know it is all about greed. My god what % of the wealth do the rich want.

  66. caj11 says:

    Regardless of what we think is a good use of a CEO’s time, I think it is poor form for them to come to Washington on private jets to beg for bailout money. It just looks bad. As an earlier poster said, if the CEOs were serious about the fate of their companies, they’d fly coach on their trip to Capitol Hill. Its only an hour flight from Detroit to DC and it would help their cause so much better, even if it would merely be a symbolic jesture. They can save the private jets for when they take the politicians down on their booze-riddled jaunts in the Carribean.

  67. banmojo says:

    if their businesses were in the black and they wanted to fly around in private jets, that’s their business.

    when their businesses are f$#@ed, and they are begging for tax payer money to help ‘bail them out’, then they had better be prepared to get a MAJOR ASS PROBING BY PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE WHO PAYS TAXES.

    nothing wrong with this news report. it was valid news, and telling too.

    I’m all for free market, when it applies, but our government SHOULD put limits on antitrust, SHOULD put limits on monopolies, SHOULD get involved when ultra powerful are totally f$#@ing the peasants who help make them ultra powerful.

    It’s not all black and white, in the sense that neither political party has a perfect platform. Pretty f4#@ing far from it in fact.

    It IS all black and white, when it comes down to it any failing system, no matter how big or small, can be looked at from a systems analysis approach, and can have either the input, the modulation of input, the output, the feedback, or all 4 tweaked, then reassessed, then tweaked again, till it’s running at optimum. Makes too much sense in fact.

    Reason it doesn’t happen is because no one in DC wants anything to run perfectly. F$#@. They’d all be outta jobs then. No. It’s the mighty dollar, and the power it represents, that runs the show.

    Don’t EVER let anyone tell you differently.

  68. RedwoodFlyer says:

    Two things…1) Look how crappy the Volt turned out looking…for $40k, it should look better than a Malibu!

    2) Even if they needed a private jet for the reasons mentioned above, why a Gulfstream IV? There are many, many jets that can do the job for less than half the cost!

    Heck, a VLJ like the upcoming HondaJet can do the Roundtrip for less than $5k!

    Here’s an interior of a practical jet:

    You can buy 10 of those for the cost of 1 of what GM’s CEO flew in on…much more luxury than necessary:

  69. darkstar says:

    Not that I’m all that surprised, but I’m hoping this’ll be the last straw that pushes the fence sitters from not feeling sorry for these arrogant bastards to actively hating them and wishing they were dead.

    We’re all hurting right now (well, most of us, anyway), and these guys are obviously the least deserving of help. It doesn’t matter how much money we throw at this problem – they’ll still be arrogant bastards and they’ll continue making crap vehicles ’cause that’s who they are. Giving them a handout is just going to prolong the life of a dinosaur that should have gone extinct a long time ago.

  70. Anonymous says:

    US auto companies are like a patient in intensive care, with three tubes siphoning away their life-blood: high current wages, retiree health-care commitments, and their dealer-network. Now, they want the government to stick an intravenous tube in them, and give them some more life-fluid. Of course it’ll work in the short term. Of course it will allow buy the patient time. However, what good is that time if nothing is done about the three outflows? And — height of ridiculousness — some legislators want to stick in a fourth outflow tube in the form of enviro-crap.

    And, how can those three outflows be stopped? They’re all based in contractual obligations. In theory, the Union pay might be open to rollback as a condition of a bailout, but I don’t know the legalities of that. What about the other two? The solution is: GM must break its contracts. The only legal way that can happen is to declare bankruptcy.

  71. urabl says:

    What I would love to have explained to me is this:

    As much as they want to pretend that they are as all-American as apple pie, the auto companies are multi-national corporations, with workers and investors all around the world. Most large companies these days are, that’s not the problem. But then why is it that the American people are stuck footing the bill to save the auto industry?

  72. handyr says:

    This is what executives of huge concerns do. Let it go

  73. BusinessHut says:

    Who cares? If they have a private jet, why not take it? Even for their own security. There are many people that obviously think the CEOs of these companies are single-handedly responsible for the entire economic downturn. I wouldn’t want some underinformed wacko coming after me because the economy sucks.