Yesterday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced to the press that Congress had reached an informal agreement on the auto industry bailout, but postponed official voting on the matter. As per Pelosi’s orders, Congress will withhold their votes until each member of the Detroit 3 submitted a detailed plan indicating how the federal funds would be used. Unhappy with the delay, General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner responded to Pelosi’s homework assignment by stressing the time-sensitive nature of GM’s financial crisis, explaining, “It’s our intention to last as long as we can [but] the longer we wait, the higher our risk grows.”
If allowed to continue down their current path, Wagoner projects the auto industry will ultimately suffer the same fate as the rapidly worsening global economy. He continues to insist that immediate federal relief is the only answer to Detroit’s problems (and more importantly, his), and he’s grown slightly exasperated with Congress’ insistence on dotting every i. “The whole working through a political process, by its nature, seems to be pretty cumbersome,” Wagoner said. Obviously not wishing to burn any bridges, Wagoner was also quick to explain that although the stall tactics and the subsequent jeopardy the ownership of his private jet has been placed in are really start to chafe, he completely understands Washington’s demand for more information. Explained Wagoner graciously, “I suppose it is reasonable that many of them would not have the depth of knowledge of the current state of the auto business that you or I would have.”
Meanwhile, Wagoner has found sympathy from the government increasingly hard to come by after he and several other executives came under the righteous fire of U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-NY for arriving to Wednesday’s senate hearings via private jet. Acutely sensing the nitpicking is largely intended more for personal amusement than protecting taxpayer interests, a presumably exasperated Wagoner explained to the press that private jets were common methods of travel for executives with an extraordinary amount of ground to cover during any given business day. “This is a standard practice … built around the fact that we do try to cover a lot of bases, and if I can go visit six groups of dealers rather than two, then I can presumably be much more effective in supporting the success of the company,” he told the Detroit Free Press. “I have to say, it got a little more attention than I would have thought it would have. But we, really, actually over the last several years, radically cut back on the use of that service in recognition of the importance of expense control.”
Editorial Note: Alright Congress, you’ve had your fun. No one is fooled by the song and dance, we know you intended to bailout the auto industry from day one, you just wanted to watch them sweat a little. We’ll admit, it was mildly entertaining to watch Wagoner grovel shamelessly on YouTube, but the joke has grown stale. Just go ahead and give Detroit their bailout before we find Wagoner scurrying around outside the RennCen desperately offering 25¢ windshield washes.