Wednesday, December 3, 2008

NPR Fan Bailout

Okay, I’ve changed my mind. For the past couple weeks, I’ve been on the fence about whether we should bail out the Big Three car manufacturers, and I’d pretty much decided that we shouldn’t. Yes, they employ many people, and those people in turn keep many others in business. Yes, they’re a core American industry, etc etc. But really, I couldn’t imagine that lending them billions of dollars would actually accomplish anything. They need the money to “restructure” which really just means lay people off – that doesn’t seem like it will do much for the economy. And they don’t really seem to have a viable plan to get back to profitability. All that, and I didn’t appreciate (other than for its humor) the fact that they CEOs of Ford, GM, and Chrysler each flew their own private jet to go begging in Washington last week, and seemed shocked that they weren’t going to just get whatever they asked for.

But that’s all changed, because now I know that the CEOs of Ford and GM, at least, listen to NPR. Last week on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, they joked about the CEOs and their corporate jets, and Roxanne Roberts suggested that they should have just driven to Washington. Although Peter Sagel thought that would be a horrible idea because of they’d break down in Pittsburg, apparently the CEOs were listening! Last night on All Things Considered, in what I struck me as a very funny piece, Brian Naylor and Michele Norris reported not only that the CEOs of Ford and GM were driving to the new set of hearings in Washington this week, but also what type of cars they would be using – a Chevrolet Malibu hybrid sedan and some kind of Ford hybrid. The CEO of Chrysler may be driving to Washington, but Chrysler won’t say for sure, citing “security reasons”.

So there you go – if the car companies are run by NPR listeners, they must be in good shape. Bailout approved!


March said...

Interesting article on the topic including the not apocalyptic option of letting them go bankrupt -

Anonymous said...

I found the hypocrisy of the senators criticizing the CEOs for private jets fascinating. Take a look at the sheer number of private jet bookings of ANY of the people on that panel.

I always did oppose the bailout, but the focus on the complete red herring of 'private jets' was the strongest signal that it was going to happen. You don't quibble about something so banal if you're not going to give them the money after posturing for a few weeks.