High prices at D.C. auto show
Their ploy of having the execs drive fuel-efficient cars to D.C., instead of corporate jets, worked like a charm. The press this morning was plastered with pictures of these drivers, like GM's Rick Wagoner hopping out of his Volt upon arrival at Capitol Hill.
Revolting. Their wobbly steering of their companies has been unsafe at any speed, and they should have been pulled over before they even left Detroit.
Yes, the stories about their testimony reflected lawmakers' skepticism. But at least the P.R. pictures of execs driving low-cost vehicles (at right, Wagoner) was potentially worth millions in future hawking of such cars. And it will stand as part of the permanent record for future historians about how the Big Three were committed to new and innovative vehicles.
For now, there will be a bailout, no matter how skeptical Congress is. And it's important to remember that lawmakers play for their audiences, and their brutal words directed at the automakers mean little.
If Congress — anybody — knew exactly how to pull us out of the deepening depression, the Big Three would have less of a chance of getting bailouts. But nobody knows yet what will work, and of course the failure of these huge companies is seen as disastrous right now.
Despite what the Wall Street Journal points out this morning in a smart piece ("Detroit Bailout Hits a Bumpy Road"), Congress will no doubt grant the Big Three CEOs their Christmas wish of cash instead of sweaters.
Their only problem is that, amid the infernal combustion of the economy, no one really wants to take responsibility for initiating the bailout of the Big Three. They all have their eyes on the next elections, which no doubt will take place during a severe recession, and bailing out executives won't look good on the resumes. As the WSJ points out:
Ah, the Journal is so good. Its reporters Greg Hitt and Matthew Dolan accurately call this "providing government relief" instead of Rick Wagoner's euphemism of "federal assistance." This is a direct plea for corporate welfare. This exasperating situation gives welfare a bad name.
Maybe Obama will have some spare change, even though his new administration looks suspiciously like a lineup of the usual suspects.
NO PARTICULAR ORDER:
N.Y. Times: 'Attacks Traced to Two From Pakistan'
N.Y. Times: 'Live Blog: The Automakers Plead' (Floyd Norris)
N.Y. Post: 'S&M LAWYER BEAT A PATH TO SAVE GAL'
N.Y. Daily News: 'Nab L.I. magician in foto trick'