The heads of America’s top automakers are in Washington D.C. to appeal directly to members of Congress for a massive financial boost as their companies are hemorrhaging millions. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says from what he’s heard so far, the multimillionaire CEOs of Ford, G-M and Chrysler don’t have their attitudes in check.
“What we need from them is a little bit of contrition on the part of management that they have not run the company well and have not been on top of things,” Grassley says. “I think they need to take the Lee Iacocca approach, take a one-dollar salary.”
For example, Rick Wagoner, the head of G-M, got bonuses last year of nearly 16-million dollars. Grassley is doubtful the Detroit execs would consider hacking their own salaries to benefit their faltering companies.
“I don’t see that they’re willing to do it, in fact, just the opposite,” Grassley says. “I’ve seen some of the CEOs say that if they expect us to change our job or resign or not run the company the way we have, then they don’t want the federal help.”
Grassley says he heard an earful from Iowans about the 700-billion dollar Wall Street bailout package that passed congress a few weeks ago, and this automaker proposal is viewed as just more of the same.
“I think people see the request for money from the bailout or other money for the Big Three as being further money down a rat hole.” While some in Congress propose a 25-billion dollar bailout for the automakers, Grassley says if they get it and don’t change their ways, “They’ll be back in March for another 50-billion.”