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Showing up at a soup kitchen in a tuxedo

The CEOs of Ford, Chrysler, and GM went to DC today to beg for $25 billion in bailout money, but Rep. Gary Ackerman of New York points out the irony of how they got there:

There is a delicious irony in seeing private luxury jets flying into Washington, D.C., and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hand, saying that they’re going to be trimming down and streamlining their businesses. It’s almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in high hat and tuxedo. It kind of makes you a little bit suspicious. Couldn’t you all have downgraded to first class or jet-pooled or something to get here? It would have at least sent a message that you do get it.

Estimated cost of the trip from Detroit to DC on a private jet was $20,000 each.

When questioned about this, the three auto companies defended the CEOs travel as “standard procedure”. And that, my friends, is exactly the problem.

On top of this, Rep. Paul Kanjorski of Pennsylvania asked if the CEOs would be willing to take a cue from former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca, who famously cut his pay to $1 when Chrysler was on the brink of bankruptcy and he asked Congress for loan guarantees to stay afloat.  Only one of the CEOs said he would be willing to cut his salary to $1, but he failed to mention that his salary already is $1 (most of his compensation comes in forms other than salary).