Thursday, November 20, 2008

Populism and Pretense

Congress and the media have been making a big deal out of the fact that the chief executives of the Big 3 automakers flew to Washington, hat in hand, to ask for bailouts in their private corporate jets. Bully for them.

But this is really little more than an exercise in populist hypocrisy. Were I a banker, and a family came to me to have their mortgage renegotiated, and I turned them down, because they had driven to the bank in their own car, rather than taking the bus, whose side would the press and the politicians be on?


JohnMcG said...

Well, this isn't asking for a loan from a wealthy bank; this is asking everyone in the country to go deeper into debt during bad economic times.

Should the private jets be the deciding factor? No. But it's an indication that the auto companies have not exhausted their internal options before coming to the rest of us for help, and that maybe they should sweat a little more before we rescue them.

Aaron said...

True, true. But I suspect that banks are just as entitled to ask that people who come looking for a break exhaust their internal options, too. But since we think of bankers as wealthy, we'd be less inclined to see the similarities.

Catnapping said...

Oh, honey. I just gotta rant about this:

We're not talking about someone with a little bit of money asking for a gift from someone with a lot of money.

We're talking about some rich SOB's asking us very poor people to give them money. After they've already effed us in the rear end...without benefit of lubricants, even.

I say make the jerks sell those jets; sell all but one of their dozens of homes, boats, and Italian suits. And while we're at it, how about a law criminalizing the sort of profiteering that's turning this country into a 2-class (i.e. shitty rich v. hand-to-mouth) system?

Capitalism sucks. It's a contrivance. Humans are social animals...we're hardwired to share...not buy one-each of this, that, and all of those.

We're not wired to allow tens of thousands to starve, while just one of these rich POS' yearly salary is enough to have fed, clothed, and sheltered every dead child lost in one year to starvation, the elements, and disease.

JohnMcG said...

I guess it's true whether this analogy holds:

car::middle class = private jet::CEO's

Is a private jet intrinsic to the lifestlye of a CEO such that it would be unreasonable to expect them to give it up (or curtail its use) before asking for help, in the same way we would not expect a middle class family to give up its car (or even its second car) before coming for help?

And if it is, does that need to change because we're in hard times?

Catnapping said...

Decent people don't get rich enough to own private jets.

I'd be tickled if the sort of behavior...undertakings done by such POS were criminalized. When tens of thousands of Americans are dying every year, due to starvation, disease, and exposure to the elements...I see such greed as a form of VIOLENCE.

Why are we wasting money building private jets in the first place? It's time to feed the hungry and heal the sick.

Put these MFs in prison. Confiscate all their properties, and liquidate their assets.