Monday, November 24, 2008

The Auto Show of Shows

Last week and all weekend, a lot has been made of the auto industry execs flying in on separate jets to meet with Congress. However, that's just a lot of media "fog" and the real story has to do with their actual testimonies. The Congress sent them home without the cash because they went to Washington without any facts or plans to support their need for billions of taxpayer dollars. As a consequence, they were sent home and were told to come up with a "business plan" that would say how the money would be used and how they would change their businesses to become profitable. There isn't a "dah" big enough for this one!

Basically, the auto execs thought they had this one in the bag because of the millions in lobbying money and campaign contributions they had given. Further, the relationship of the United Auto Workers union (UAW) and the Democrats, and all the get-out-the-vote work that was done by the union membership in this last election, made the cash handout a done-deal in their minds. There was no humility on their part. There was no shame at being unable to keep their businesses afloat. After all, these are extremely well-paid people (that's an understatement!) who are supposed to have their fingers on the pulse of the company. However, the only real business argument that they could come up with for getting the cash was: If you don't give the money, thousands would be left unemployed. No facts to even support that claim.

If they were really concerned about the results of their trip to Washington, they would have huddled beforehand and continued to discuss their tactics before Congress while flying "together" on a single private jet. But, they just treated this whole trip as an "necessary" waste of time.

The performance by the auto execs (if you could even call it that) is a perfect example of the symbiotic relationships that some businesses have and will continue to have in Congress. This "business plan" thing is just a ruse. Nancy Pelosi has already implied that she will give the money when the auto companies return to Washington in December. We know that, because she said that "bankruptcy" was off the table. That means the cash is the only direction. The business plan thing is merely being done for marketing purposes to make the Congress look tough (Right!) and to wash away the embarrassment of those execs flying in on private jets. The only thing that the auto companies really lost on their trip to D.C. was two weeks and any positive P.R.

As I said in my blog of last week, they'll be back when this money runs out. Probably in just a year. Mark my words.

No comments: