GM Responds to Wagoner's Jet-Setting

November 21, 2008
GM is scrubbing and scrambling, says Automotive News: scrubbing part of its corporate jet fleet and scrambling to explain why. Day late, dollar short, we say. It seems a quick attempt to look responsible just a day after CEO Rick Wagoner sauntered to Washington in a private jet to request billions from Congress. Wagoner's--and Mulally's and Nardelli's--requests fell on deaf ears, with Congress telling them to return with a concrete plan that explains just how they'll use the funds they're asking for. And with profligate spending on jet flights while they simultaneously lay off thousands of workers, can the taxpayer trust that these CEOs will be good stewards of public funds?

General Motors claims it had already planned to reduce its corporate jet fleet, but the timing seems strangely coincidental. Even GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson admitted that Wagoner's jet-setting creates "a perception issue...we need to be very sensitive to that going forward."

New York Democrat Gary Ackerman had some choice words about the Big Three's CEOs arriving each in their own private jet. According to Automotive News, during yesterday's House hearing, Ackerman said that "there's a delicious irony in seeing private luxury jets flying in to Washington, D.C., and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hands saying that they're going to be trimming down and streamlining their's almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in high hat and tuxedo.''--Colin Mathews

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