Public Bailout for Private Jets

The heads of the Big Three U.S. automakers (General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford), and the president of the United Auto Workers (UAW) went to Capitol Hill to ask for a $25 billion bailout loan. But they didn't give enough thought to how they got there. Each man flew separately, on private corporate jets, to ask for help from U.S. taxpayers. Even industry-funded groups like Citizens Against Government Waste think the auto industry honchos are out of touch. "It appears that the senior management of the automakers simply don't get it," said Tom Schatz, CAGW President. Their cavalier attitude was roundly noted, and criticized. Congressman Gary Ackerman of New York chided them: "As CEOs of your companies, you should set the standard here of what the future looks like." GM's CEO Rick Wagoner's trip cost the company $20,000, compared to a first-class ticket for the same day that came in at less than $900. Wagoner also takes a corporate jet from Detroit to his home in Seattle each weekend. "This is a slap in the face of taxpayers," said Schatz. "To come to Washington on a corporate jet, and asking for a hand out is outrageous."