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But, as Jeff Koopersmith points out, two can play at that game…
December 2, 2008 – Geneva (apj.us) – You might think that an old liberal like me would be tsk-tsking away at our automaker's top officers arriving to ask for a loan aboard their luxury private jets.
I say "Hurrah" for the bright guys at General Motors who now have had the F.A.A. block the public's (and the congress's) ability to track the private jets it uses. This is a normal request made by many of the privileged few.
The General Motors' plane in question is a leased Gulfstream IV that was used to travel to Washington where GM, Ford, and Chrysler executives – ill prepared by there dimwit PR departments – were made, inappropriately, fools of because they flew to DC in private jets owned or rented by their companies.
I for one don't give a hoot whether our motor car company execs fly in private jets or on kites. That's their business.
While I might agree that these executives, just about to ask the congressional committee for a bridge loan in order to keep its tens of thousands of workers on the payroll, should have known that some slimy staff member would track the way they arrived in the nation's capitol, I think it was an unfair trick to have asked this question in front of the world – especially by an over-privileged congressman.
Furthermore, the Congress should be smart enough to realize that it isn’t the heads of these companies that might lose everything if General Motors goes down.
There are also millions of small investors, pensioners, and school boards with lots of money on the line here.
It was a low blow – especially since most members of congress take trips on their constituent's private planes all the time.
While I might agree that American car manufacturers have had their combined heads in the sand for decades, I also understand the reasons why. They were not great reasons, but they are there nonetheless.
Making the politically correct choice whether GM CEO Rick Wagoner should fly on 60 million dollar corporate aircraft, or take a slow train to Capitol Hill won't save our auto industry.
Why not ask them what their suits and shoes cost as well?
Even if the Big Three don't deserve it – we will all have to step up
to plate and contribute about $150 bucks to keep our auto workers on the line, and hopefully some new designers at headquarters!
It may be cute to make men look like fools, but it's not productive in any possible way.
Jeff Koopersmith is an internationally renowned political consultant, opinion research authority and policy analyst. He has lobbied for causes including the alternative fuel sector and women's health, and is an expert on the international real estate market. He lives in Philadelphia, Washington and Geneva.