All the auto executives should be fired by their boards of directors. Given the opportunity to present their case to the American people why their companies are failing, they instead were seen begging before the Congress. It is ironic that the day of their begging for a handout, Honda was opening a new assembly plant in Indiana. Somehow this was lost on the auto executives, the Congress, the press and the American people. Why is it that the foreign auto makers suffer less losses in the United States and the US automakers make money abroad? Instead of addressing these fundamental issues, the automakers just pleaded for more cash. Does anyone really think that this infusion will be anything other than a temporary patch and then they will come back for more? The Congress looking down their noses pontificated that Detroit would get the money if they made hybrids and electric cars - cars that few of us want to own. Hybrids are expensive and make no economic sense for those of us who aren't on a guilt trip about global warming (actually global cooling). Electrics have virtually no range and the batteries are expensive to replace and will constitute a landfill nightmare. Surely, the manufacture of these turkeys will not put the American auto industry back in the black. Congress has an agenda to get the automobile off of fossil fuels and onto more expensive alternatives - the public be damned. Instead of the auto execs forcefully making their point to save their companies by getting the regulations imposed by Congress off their backs, reducing their labor and benefit packages aggressively by seeking significant concessions from the unions and aggressively restructuring their industry, instead they were just a bunch of toothless eunuchs. They have failed their stockholders and their customers. If any company takes a penny of federal money, I suggest that all their executives get paid at the federal pay scale for the senior executive service for they will now be minions of the state.
Harold A. Black is professor emeritus in the Department of Finance, University of Tennessee, Knoxville having retired after 24 years of service. He has served on the faculties of American University, Howard University, the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and the University of Florida. His government service includes the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and as a Board Member of the National Credit Union Administration. He also has served on the boards of directors Home Savings of America and its parent company, H. F. Ahmanson & Co., Irwindale, California prior to its merger with Washington Mutual Savings Bank, on the board of New Century Financial Corporation, Irvine, California, then the nation’s largest real estate investment trust and as director and later chairman of the Nashville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He writes an occasional article for the Knoxville News-Sentinel at http://www.knoxnews.com/staff/dr-harold-black/. His web page is haroldablackphd.com