Published November 19, 2008
The CEOs of the Big Three automakers reportedly flew private luxury jets to Washington to plead for a $25 billion taxpayer bailout to save their debt-ridden industry — ringing up tens of thousands in charges even as they cried poverty.
Recipients of eight-figure bonuses in 2007, the corporate cowboys used their executive perks — which for GM's Rick Wagoner include the run of a $36 million Gulfstream IV jet — to arrive in style as they went begging before Congress.
Wagoner, whose flight reportedly cost $20,000 round-trip — about 70 times more than a commercial airline ticket — told Congress he expected about $10-$12 billion from the requested bailout.
"This is a slap in the face of taxpayers," Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, told ABC News. "To come to Washington on a corporate jet, and asking for a handout is outrageous."
Joined by Robert Nardelli of Chrysler and Alan Mulally of Ford, Wagoner told the Senate that a collapse in Detroit could cost 3 million jobs in just a year and put the hurt on communities across the country.
But the prospective bailout is getting held up in the Senate, where lawmakers don't appear keen to save the ailing industry. "Just giving them $25 billion doesn't change anything," Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., told FOX News. "It just puts off for six months or so the day of reckoning."