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December 10, 2008

Honey, I am selling the jet

17 I wonder if that’s how Alan Mulally, Ford’s CEO, broke the news to his wife. Selling the company’s private aircraft was one of the many expense cutting actions in Ford’s proposal to Congress. And did he also say, “Oh, by the way, I am taking a small pay cut too!” He is proposing his salary will be a dollar a year for the next two years as well.

Mr. Mulally, along with Mr. Wagoner (GM) and Mr. Nardelli (Chrysler) are asking for $34 billion. When I first heard this, the first word out of mouth was “WHAT” and then I resolved to stay close to the story to learn more. The more I heard, read, and stumbled upon, the more furious I became. The press made such a big deal about them driving their hybrids to Washington, because those gentlemen, apparently, flew in via private jets the first trip. But today as I type this post, listening to Christmas music in the background, I am sad thinking about this story. And the words that are coming to mind now are “Why” and “How did this happen”. Why do companies feel that it’s the government’s duty to “bail” them out? Do they not understand that it’s not Congress’ money they are pleading for! It’s mine and it’s your money. As long as we are a taxpaying citizen, I fear we will be solely responsible for “bailing” Wall Street out (remember the $700 billion right before the election) and now Detroit’s “Big Three”. And why did the CEOs let their employees down by miss managing these companies and they are still in the highest position. If I miss managed my responsibilities, I would be warned and then fired. Perhaps, I am missing something or have not read or listened as closely as I should but I can not fully figure out how it came to a request for $34 billion. I get the economy is down, I get that consumers are not buying their vehicles, but it just appears to me that they waited too long to make substantial changes to decrease expenses.  Example, why are they now (this past week), ceasing to use and putting up for sale the company jet?

Looking in our own home, we definitely have not done our part to support the “Big Three”. When we got married, I was the patriot (a touch of humor) with a Jeep (Chrysler) and my husband had and much to my dismay still has his beloved, smelly Pathfinder. After my little superman came along, my 8 year old bumpy Jeep was not cutting it. So, I car shopped and narrowed it down to two vehicles, which did not include a GM, a Ford, or a Chrysler. Really, my requirements were simple. We had to be able to afford it, but it had to fit the family (big husband, little superman, me and our crazy puppy-girl) and offer great safety features. Sadly, I was so use to SUVs and high gas prices, “good on gas” was a plus not requirement. I know, I am idiot! Even though, I actually liked the Ford Edge, the price just did not work for us.

My husband and I watch the news every night. We read the newspaper every week and receive the news alerts online. We are nervous about the economy, our jobs (we both work for retailers/etailers), terrorism, and the new government coming to power in the new year. We are consistently hearing about the recession, this latest bailout plea, and retailers posting the worst numbers in years. We wonder how long will it take to directly affect us. We are truly blessed.  We still have our jobs and have no immediate fears of losing our home. We can make our mortgage every month and still will enjoy a fruitful holiday season. But so many will not, and now what does this bailout mean for the employees? If these companies file for Chapter 11 and do not recover, I can not even imagine the number of people that will lose their jobs. Even with the bailout many will still lose their jobs due to downsizing provisions. By no means am I calling for the “heads” of these CEOs, but I do believe in accountability. Today, I caught a glimpse of it, while reading the Washington Times. When confronted with the possibility that Chrysler may have to merge with GM, which Mr. Nardelli acknowledged would result in the loss of his job. Here is a quote from the article.

"If in fact that's the criteria that means we get money to save Chrysler and the people who have worked there for 80-some years, I would do it," Mr. Nardelli said.

I guess if our elected officials vote to bail these three companies out, I will accept it will be my responsibility to pay for it. However, I still am looking for confirmation that we, the taxpayers, will be paid back, that many will not lose their jobs, and these companies will continue to make changes that will turn not just their fortune around, but also provide quality, affordable automobiles that we all will want to purchase. Hey, I say, they should run a sale that if you bring your W2 in the showroom, you get a big, fat discount!

This is an original Philly Moms Blog post.  Courtney also blogs at Mommie Blogs


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